Kenyan Families Call for State Help to Bring Kin Home from Saudi Arabia
Families with their kin stranded in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia say the Government should assist to bring them back.
This is even as many stakeholders at the Kenyan Coast lauded the temporary ban on the export of Kenyan workers to the kingdom.
“All I want is my wife back,” said Mwandodo Juma, whose wife, a nurse, he said was lured to Saudi Arabia in November on the promise of a career in the medical sector only to be condemned to domestic work.
A mother of a 24-year-old Kenyan woman, Rehema Juma Mwasina of Likoni, Mombasa, is also appealing for assistance to liberate her daughter from an abusive employer.
Fatuma Juma Ndurya said her daughter, who was recruited late last year for a housemaid job, complained of mistreatment. “I fully support the ban. My suggestion is that Kenyans be stopped from going to Saudi Arabia to work as maids,” she said.
On Monday Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli described the employment arrangements of Kenyans in Saudi Arabia as “indirect slavery” and hailed the Government for stopping the flow of its citizens to the conservative state.
At the same time, some stakeholders are urging the Government to enter a new agreement with the Saudis to secure Kenya’s employment quota in the kingdom.
Hussein Khalid, Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) executive director, told The Standard that consultations between the two states should be completed within three months.
“We cannot ignore the contribution into the Kenyan economy from monies wired back to assist families here,’’ he said. He said there are about 80,000 Kenyans employed in the Arab world today.
“We appreciate and acknowledge the Government’s belated move to stamp its authority to save Kenyans in dire need of assistance who have undergone inhuman forms of treatment but want an expeditious move to forestall job losses,” said Khalid.
His sentiments were echoed by the National Chairman of the Kenya Association of Private Employment Agencies Abubakar Bunu.
Mr Bunu said while they welcomed the move for a temporary stoppage, “the wait should not be long as there are potential nations like Eritrea, Nepal, the Philippines and Indonesia, which can fill in the gap left by Kenya’s absence.”