MPs Demand Action From Ministry in Middle East Domestic Workers Woes

  • An ongoing session in parliament
    An ongoing session in parliament
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  • Members of parliament have demanded action from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in connection with mistreatment of Kenyan domestic workers in the Middle East.

    The legislators accused the government of failing to take decisive action when Kenyan workers are tortured and even killed in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

    The National Assembly's Labour and Social Welfare committee chairman, Kabinga Wachira stated that their investigations reveal that some of the recruitment agencies are rogue and get away with flagrantly contravening labour laws.

    “We have visited what are considered successful agencies, but we have found out that there are agents out there who are not complying with the rules. Therefore, some of them are the cause of what is being witnessed by domestic workers,” Kabinga stated. 

    Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo addressing the annual presidential briefing to the diplomatic corps at State House on March 4, 2021.
    Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo addressing the annual presidential briefing to the diplomatic corps at State House on March 4, 2021.
    PSCU

    The Mwea MP further blamed the authorities for laxity when Kenyan workers report cases of assault by their employers.

    “When there is a distress call, there is a clear indication that our embassies are not supporting our people,” the MP stated, citing recent cases.

    On his part, nominated MP Gideon Keter, blasted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claiming that it's a shame recruitment agencies are doing a better job than them in as far as safeguarding the rights of the Kenyan workers.

    “The only disappointing part is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You are letting our country down. We look weak. We look unguided. The safety they have is the agencies. The agencies perform better than the ministry itself,” stated Keter.

    The committee further directed the two ministries to streamline the rules governing recruitment agencies to ensure that Kenyan domestic workers in the Middle East are protected.

    Earlier, Labour Cabinet Secretary, Simon Chelugui, stated that his ministry has put plans in place to negotiate with the Saudi Arabian government on a bilateral labour agreement.

    "I want to assure any Kenyan working locally or abroad that their lives are important. I believe the future is bright and we assure these workers of their safety and comfort in Saudi Arabia," noted Chelugui.

    The CS made the statements after a public outcry over the rising cases of mistreatment of Kenyan workers in the Middle East, and particularly in Saudi Arabia.

    On August 30, 2021, a group of women staged a protest in Kiambu after a recruitment agent failed to take them to Saudi Arabia for jobs.   

    Cabinet Secretary Labour & Social Protection, Simon Chelugui speaks during a press conference.
    Cabinet Secretary Labour & Social Protection, Simon Chelugui speaks during a press conference.
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