A trip down memory lane, in 2012 the duo graced the Kenyan political scene vibrant and promising. As a people we were desperate for change. Maybe we felt we could be a few milestones farther from where Retired President Kibaki had steered us economically. The young fresh blood smelt our desperation from a far and danced to our expectations. Promises were made, a make-believe theatrical new style of leadership was launched and we knew, this was the dawn of Kenya. Five years later, poverty has beat us to the pulp. With just a few years shy of the golden 2030, we are still battling unemployment. The staggering GDP, crippled with an overwhelming unemployment rate of 7.4%. In black and white, 9 out of 10 unemployed Kenyans are aged below 35 years, whilst the bigger quarter of the employed population work in low cadre menial jobs.
White supremacists have argued before that Africans are genetically wired to be lazy. A while back, Mr. Obed Bapela the Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the South African cabinet echoed similar sentiments. While referring to the South Africans, he vaguely suggested, ‘South Africans do not want to get their hands dirty and rely on the government to provide lazy who rely on politicians to them with free housing and free schooling.’ Contra to these stereotypes, Kenyans hold the record for a hardworking people. To eke a living, our country men and women settle for the most menial jobs. Sometimes, accepting to bear the burden of being economically inactive and other times, opting to leave their loved ones behind in search for greener pastures abroad.
Over the years, Kenya continues to enjoy an amicable relation with the global community topped up with the recent plus Ambassador Amina who understood the importance of diplomatic relations. However, a tussle, travelling abroad is a possibility. Kenyans in the living in the diaspora are core of the economy and therefore, all the necessary questions must be asked and answered before we send more Kenyans are broad. There are possible right channels to get recruitments abroad, through known and verified agencies. The government has made undeniable efforts in ensuring that international immigration gets immense technical support. This is through the Kenya Diaspora Policy 2014 as well as working with the specific stakeholders in strengthening the process. Recently, the verified agencies were listed and the shady ones faced a ban.
It is however unfortunate that, even years later after horrendous incidents of Kenyans being mistreated abroad, unsuspecting young people are falling into the hands of greedy unscrupulous agents exploiting job opportunities in the Middle East. In 2015, over 900 agencies had their licenses lifted as the government banned its citizens from working in the Middle East. Nevertheless, young people desperate to unclasp themselves from the chains of poverty are jumping the train. We have witnessed heartbreaking stories of young women who leave the country in the hope of a better life, only to wound back home if lucky with gory tales. These crooked agents trick some of these young women with enticing job offers only to land them into all forms of abuse ranging from verbal to sexual abuse. Disheartening that families go through the loss of their loved ones without getting probable justice.
The broken link in propagating information could be take the blame. Fraudsters transfix their selfish interests in the loopholes. They sell dreams to innocent dreamers scoffing crazy money from poor families. The recent documentation of the certified agencies is an undeniable effort but getting this kind of information down to the roots will require the embassies to strap their boots and get their ‘hands dirty’. By exploiting the mere possibility that there are fraudsters who maraud themselves as agents, we can avert future horrors. When its all said and done, we should embrace integrity as a country. The reason we find ourselves in these avoidable instances, we have accepted corruption as our own thing. We have wired our kids and the kids’ kids to believe in the backdoor. That somehow a civil servant cannot render a service which they are duly paid for without a pat on the back. These shortcuts are the dark alleys swallowing up young women in dire need of opportunities abroad and unless we stop, the policies will just be a greenlight.