Kenyans woes in Saudi Arabia feature at envoys vetting

The proposed closure of the Kenyan embassy in Ireland and the mistreatment of Kenyan migrant workers in Saudi Arabia cropped up during the vetting of the nominees for ambassadorial slots.

In 2012, the MPs had pushed for the austerity measure because the mission in Dublin “does not serve any significant diplomatic and economic purpose”.

The issue was raised by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, who was the chair of the committee then, questioning why President Uhuru Kenyatta had picked a nominee, Richard Opembe, for the position even after a parliamentary committee had recommended its closure.

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But parliamentary Defence and Foreign Relations vice chairman, who chaired the session Barre Shill, dismissed the assertion saying a parliamentary committee has no jurisdiction to close a foreign mission.

The Committee also grilled nominee envoys for Saudi Arabia and Germany. On the mistreatment of Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia, the nominee Mohamoud Mohamed was asked by members whether he has what it takes to address the issue.

But Mohammed said the major challenge facing Kenyans working in unskilled areas in Saudi was that majority were semi-illiterate. He, however, said there is need to enact a policy on who is legible to travel to Saudi and other Far East countries for work

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