Close to two months now and Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma is still incarcerated in a foreign land, under the most inhuman conditions.
Despite two courts (Lower and High Court) in Ethiopia releasing him after finding him innocent, no one seems to care to secure his freedom.
Today Kenyan’s were treated to a very emotional letter from Juma, and without losing his message through paraphrasing, let me quote him directly.
He said, “It is my 47th day in detention at Aradar detention Cell. It is also my 7th day since I was diagnosed with Covid-19. I am currently being held at block (W) with 68 other Covid-19 positive inmates with no access to medication in overcrowded cells, no running, water, and no diet to assist us with our condition.”
“My health is failing with each passing day, and I am not sure if I will make it. It is 50-50 with corona virus but the conditions in detention makes my survival chances less.”
“The Kenyan government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has failed to secure my freedom even after two courts [Lower and High Court] released me last Monday.”
If those words are not enough to melt the hearts of the leaders in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Raychelle Omamo who seems to be looking elsewhere.
The Ministry has been left in the hands of the Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba, who send back when he went to attend the burial of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. If our neighbours can not accept our leaders, what hope do we have with other countries?
To create a clear picture on what governments do to safeguard their citizens when danger lurks, I will take you back to the year 2010, during the Chilean mining accident famously known as the 2010 Copiapó mining accident.
During that time, 33 miners were trapped in a cave-in at the San José copper–gold mine, and journalists who witnessed the events says that the whole government of Chile came to a standstill until all the miners were saved.
The men who were trapped 700 meters (2,300 ft) underground and 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the mine’s entrance via spiraling underground ramps, were rescued after 69 days. Under normal circumstances, this would have been declared an impossible mission, and the 33 would have perished.
In Kenya, it has become normal for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ignore the pleas of Kenyans suffering in other countries, starting with students in Wuhan, China early this year during the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, hundreds of Kenyans are stuck in Beirut, Lebanon following the explosion that happened recently, and the Ministry has given them a deaf ear.
It is becoming apparent that unless you have a ‘name’, you will suffer alone as the government pretends not to see, whether in or outside the country.