Saudi Arabia must deal with its killer citizens

Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Barely a month since Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua visited Saudi Arabia to seek a solution the inhuman treatment of Kenyan migrant workers, another Kenyan in the country has sent out a distress call.

The domestic worker says her employer has been beating her and forcing her to work for two employers for one pay.

Without doubt, Dr Mutua deserves praise for setting out to look for a solution to this problem, that has left many families in tears, immediately after assuming office. But unfortunately, just like his predecessors, he seems to have diagnosed the problem half-way. After holding meetings with senior Saudi government officials, the CS blamed the predicament of the Kenyan domestic workers on corruption, cartels, and illegal travel agents here in Kenya.

He said: ''The problem that Kenyans actually face do not start here (Saudi Arabia) but start at home. The system is flawed and corrupt and unless it’s fixed, nothing will change. There is massive corruption in the way Kenyans are prepared before they leave to be domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.''

That is well-known fact and Mutua shouldn't have travelled to Saudi Arabia to learn that.

We would have wished to hear Dr Mutua telling the Saudi government in no uncertain terms that Kenyans' lives matter. He should have demanded that the Saudi officials take action against their citizens who have brutalised Kenyans. He should also have asked for blood money for the hundreds of Kenyans killed by brutal Saudi employers. According to government statistics, at least 89 Kenyans died in Saudi Arabia between 2020 and 2021 alone.

While illegal travel agents should be blamed for the tribulations of Kenyans in Saudi Arabia, the bigger problem lies with the Saudi government for failing to severely its killer citizens. Unless those who maim and kill continue to be treated with kid gloves, migrant workers will continue to be treated worse than animals in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia government must stop burying its head in the desert sand.