Mudavadi Reveals 166 Work-Related Deaths Reported From Saudi Arabia

President William Ruto attending the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 24, 2023.
President William Ruto attending the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 24, 2023.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi disclosed alarming statistics to the Senate on Wednesday, July 10, revealing that 316 Kenyans have tragically lost their lives while working in various Gulf countries over the past 12 years.

This revelation paints a picture of the challenges faced by Kenyans seeking employment opportunities abroad, particularly in nations like Saudi Arabia, where over half of these deaths occurred.

Saudi Arabia tops the list with 166 reported fatalities, followed by Qatar with 58, the United Arab Emirates with 51, Iraq with 25, Bahrain with 10, and Kuwait with 6.

Despite these harrowing figures, Saudi Arabia remains a primary destination for Kenyan workers, hosting more than 80,000 domestic workers in 2022 alone, according to Labour Ministry records.

Geoffrey Kaituko, the Labour Principal Secretary, previously informed a Parliamentary Committee that over 170,000 Kenyans are currently employed across various Gulf states, highlighting the scale of Kenyan migration to the region.

However, while responding to the Senate, Mudavadi revealed that 416,058 Kenyans are working abroad.

A graphic showing the stats of Kenyans who have died while working in the Gulf.
Steven Wambia,

In response to these tragic incidents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has outlined comprehensive measures aimed at supporting the families of the deceased.

Upon notification of a death, the Ministry initiates contact with both foreign and local stakeholders, including employers and recruitment agencies, to gather crucial information and identify next of kin.

Psychological support is then provided through the Ministry's Counseling Department, assisting bereaved families in Kenya and facilitating the preparation and repatriation of the deceased's remains.

This includes coordinating with Kenyan embassies in the Gulf to verify immigration status, obtain necessary repatriation documents, and arrange for postmortem reports where required.

Mudavadi emphasised the Ministry's role in advocating for justice in cases where the cause of death is under investigation, while also managing expectations regarding financial assistance.

He noted, "Government resources are limited when it comes to covering medical bills and repatriation expenses."

Furthermore, the Ministry undertakes efforts to secure benefits and entitlements owed to the deceased from their employers in accordance with local laws. These initiatives aim to provide some solace to grieving families amidst the complex aftermath of these tragic losses.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi
Musalia Mudavadi
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