Kenyans abroad deserve better

By Jacktone | Wednesday, Apr 22nd 2020 at 11:59
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In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that the Kenyan government doesn’t value its citizens who live and work abroad.

This was perfectly illustrated by how the government responded to distressful calls from Kenyans in China who complained of racial discrimination, xenophobic attacks, forced evictions, and denial of fundamental rights. Foreign Affairs PS Mr Kamau Macharia reacted disdainfully to repatriation calls.

Granted, the process of repatriating Kenyans from abroad can be sophisticated, diplomatically challenging, and practically expensive.

Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the government to explain extenuating circumstances impeding repatriation. At the very least, the government should repudiate the mistreatments of her citizens and demonstrate a sense of care.

On the contrary, PS Macharia was very condescending and patronizing. He demonized Kenyans reeling in depression in China as indisciplined youths who are disobeying Chinese precautionary protocols.

This is an unprecedented dereliction of duty to Kenyans abroad who play a fundamental economic role in sustaining the very abusive government that doesn’t care.

Christened “The 48th County” by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyans abroad are an integral part of Kenya’s economy. According to the World Bank statistics, remittances of Kenyans abroad hit a record high of Kshs 300 Billion. They supersede tourism and agriculture as the source of foreign exchange earner.

Despite all these exclusive benefits from about 3 million Kenyans abroad, the government continues to treat this indispensable constituency with disdain.

To date, Kenyans abroad remain mere bystanders in all democratic processes. In spite of court orders upholding voting rights and all guarantees enshrined in the constitution, the government has not only disobeyed these orders but remains cowardice to implement this sacrosanct right.

Furthermore, the Kenyan government hasn’t established proper diplomatic channels and a database platform through which it can access her citizens abroad and harness professional diaspora capabilities that can be tapped to strengthen Kenya’s systems.

Degraded abroad and rejected at home, Kenyans in the diaspora have been left in desolation, each fending for themselves without authority that they can call a government.

By and large, it’s in the best interest of the Kenyan government to establish and promote a good relationship with its citizens living and working abroad.

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