Dozens of Kenyans stranded in Qatar after jobs fallout

Dozens of Kenyans could be stranded in Qatar for lack of travel documents and air tickets. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Dozens of Kenyans could be stranded in Qatar for lack of travel documents and air tickets after falling out with their employers, sources say.

The Kenyans, most of them recruited by Mombasa-based travel agencies, are said to be languishing in the Arab country after they protested over working conditions.

“Salary was our biggest issue. We were not being paid on time and sometimes we could work for four months without pay so we decided to boycott duty in 2017,” said one of them.

He went to Qatar in 2016 and has worked as a housekeeper, tea boy and swimming pool attendant.

He is owed one year arrears of his monthly salary of about Sh33,000.

“In March this year we went on strike again. The company later terminated our contracts and evicted us from its houses. We went to court and the firm was ordered to house us until the case is heard and determined,” he said.

The story is the same among all the stranded Kenyans, some have lived in Qatar since 2013. They said it has been difficult to follow the case “because everything is done in Arabic which we do not understand.”

“We have been living on the streets and depending on left overs and food from garbage dumps. But luckily this year Qatar Red Crescent heard our pleas and started providing us with free food.”

On Wednesday, Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya secretary-general Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, human rights groups and some families of the stranded people asked Foreign Affairs secretary Monica Juma to rescue them.

Sheikh Khalifa urged Labour secretary Ukur Yatani to revoke licences of firms that are duping Kenyans abroad.