Involve government to avoid abuse, Kenya tells its citizens in the middle east

CS Foreign Affairs Monica Juma at her Harambee house office during an interview with the Standard. [PHOTO:WILBERFORCE OKWIRI/STANDARD]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked Kenyans seeking jobs in the Middle East to conduct due diligence as it strives to address domestic workers abuse.

The ministry says most Kenyans are duped into applying for jobs which at times are non-existent and end up being hired as domestic workers and abused thereafter.

MFA Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said they had set up a desk at her office that would conduct due diligence on jobs being offered, and advise any Kenyan appropriately before they take the job.

“We are telling Kenyans that all that glitters and is flowery is not gold and before you sign that contract, it’s important to check with us; we will then conduct due diligence using our missions to authenticate the jobs. That way, the ministry is also able to account for you,” Dr Juma said.

In an interview at her office on Thursday just days after returning from a three-nation Southern Africa tour, Dr Juma said Kenya is planning to open new missions across the continent since “our foreign policy is motivated by Pan Africanism”.

She regretted that Kenya’s’ presence is not felt across the continent unlike Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa that have more than 40 missions in the continent. Kenya has only one mission in West Africa (Abuja) and two in North Africa (Cairo and Algiers).

“Our wealthy and prosperity is largely embedded in the African continent and we want to do more trade in Africa,” Juma said, adding that about seven missions will be open within the next three years.

The foreign CS praised her predecessor Amina Mohamed saying the now Education CS had done tremendous work to uplift Kenya from “essential contacts” only country in 2013 to the most sought after country by the time of her departure.

Last week, Juma visited Angola, Namibia and South Africa, a trip she says was meant to explore means in which Nairobi can expand its spheres of diplomatic and trade presence across the continent.

The Foreign CS who delivered a special message from President Uhuru Kenyatta to Angola’s João Lourenço and Namibia’s Hage Geingob, said the Head of State had also invited his counterparts for State visit.

The country’s top diplomat also used the opportunity to fight claims that the Chinese are taking over the African continent, and especially Kenya, yet they were not doing skills transfers.

“This story about Africa and China is somewhat an exaggerated issue. Factually, China has invested more in the African continent,” she said adding that China was also on the overdrive in foreign investments in Europe and America.  

There have been claims that the Chinese are not transferring skills to locals and also exporting labour to the country that can easily be done by Kenyans, especially on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

On South Sudan, she said the world was getting increasingly frustrated by developments in Juba, just few years after its independence from the north.