The Kenyan government is on the receiving end of Kenyans wrath after offering to evacuate citizens stuck in China but at their own costs.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry through officials at the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing issued a notice on Friday asking Kenyans who wish to fly back home to be ready to dig deep into their pockets for expenses such as plane tickets.
The officials called on those ready to be evacuated and are Coronavirus free to register with the Embassy.
Additionally, the individuals must agree to be placed under compulsory quarantine for a period of between 14 to 28 days on arrival in Nairobi.
On the date of departure, the embassy said, “Please note that the departure will be from Guangzhou on a date to be determined immediately the above information is availed.”
Among thousands of Kenyans stuck in China are traders and students studying abroad.
The Ministry issued the notice following pressure from Kenyans both at home and China urging the government to evacuate the individuals after reports emerged that they are being mistreated and racially discriminated against after a spike in imported COVID-19 cases in Guangzhou.
The discrimination by the Chinese is targeted mostly on Africans as some have been evicted from their apartments, barred from entering supermarkets and restaurants.
Last week Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau admitted that Kenyans in China had greatly been affected by the racial discrimination meted against Africans.
“This situation has been extremely worrisome to all of us. The reality is that this has been a very unfortunate outcome. Africans, Kenyans included, have been discriminated against in the process of [Guangdong provincial] government’s response to mop up the situation that they are facing there, post-crisis,” PS Kamau told the press on Tuesday.
A section of Kenyans in China and back home has disagreed with the government over the travel expenses directive.
The individuals wonder why despite all the donations the government is receiving to contain the spread of COVID-19, it can’t spare some percentage to take care of its citizens. The government has raised over Ksh1 billion in the COVID-19 Emergency Fund kitty, President Uhuru Kenyatta said last week.
This is considering that last month the government directed all individuals entering the country to be quarantined at their own cost.
It’s also alleged that some Kenyans who have been infected with the virus are forced to pay for medical expenses.
Here are some of the reactions on Twitter:
Our Embassy in China a big let down. You can't offer distressed Kenyans an evacuation at their cost! Arrange kq planes to lift our people. Pay from the Covid-19 fund. Pr Kibaki ordered us to evacuate Kenyans from SA when they faced xenophobic attacks & we did
— Sen.Moses Wetang'ula (@Wetangulam) April 18, 2020
It's absolutely ridiculous that Kenyan Government wants our brothers in China to pay for evacuation tickets $ testing. The duty of every Govt is to protect own citizens. The torture they've been subjected to is unacceptable. We should also flush Chinese out #ChineseInKenyaMustGo pic.twitter.com/Y4KoUkkYxt
— Abuga Makori EGH, MBE (@o_abuga) April 18, 2020
Asking distraught Kenyans in China to pay for their tickets home and COVID-19 tests is unacceptable! We have quarantine centres for that. The government announced that over ksh 1b has been raised for the COVID-19 fund. Surely part of that money can be used to evacuate our people!
— Musalia W Mudavadi (@MusaliaMudavadi) April 18, 2020
The Kenyan Govt has been spending billions to bail out KQ.
The same Govt and KQ can't rescue Kenyans stranded in China and expect them to pay for their return.
Serikali ya Kenya na China ni nyani wawili wa kabila moja.
— Sir Jim Kitch Langat (@SirJimKitch) April 18, 2020
This Kenyans in China saga imeniuma Tu sana. And we are still going to vote for these same people who are watching as it's citizens suffer? Just how selfish can our leaders be surely?
— Anne Mbugua (@AnneMbugua16) April 18, 2020