CS Alfred Mutua Warns Kenyans Selling Chang'aa In Middle East

Mutua made reference to the customs of some of the Middle East countries which are against alcohol...

CS Alfred Mutua Warns Kenyans Selling Chang'aa In Middle East
Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua at the Annual Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention in Nairobi on December 7, 2022. /ALFRED MUTUA

Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Alfred Mutua has told Kenyans in the diaspora brewing illicit alcohol for a living in some of the countries in the Middle East to expect ruthless action in their home country in the event they are deported.

Speaking to Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange on Wednesday, January 18, Mutua exposed the illegal acts that have put some of the diaspora citizens in danger, especially in the Gulf where even the consumption of alcohol is illegal.

Despite lauding them for their level of creativity in matters of business, Mutua made reference to the customs of some of the Middle East countries which are against alcohol, giving an example of how Kenyans have been arrested and deported for violating the laws abroad.

Among those countries is Qatar, which made headlines after it compelled FIFA to ban the sale of alcohol across all football stadiums used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup between mid-November and mid-December.

A Budweiser concession stand for the sale of alcohol during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. /REUTERS.DAILY MAIL

“We are taking care of all Kenyans in Qatar and we are the government speaking the truth. Kenyans are business people, and in some of these countries in the Middle East, alcohol is illegal.

“Do you know there are Kenyans brewing changaa in some of these countries? It breaks my heart that we are here debating about getting Kenyans there while there are Kenyans there with changaa dens, selling changaa to other Africans, an illegality of illegality in a Muslim country," said the CS.

Mutua further explained the consequences of Kenyans conducting such illegalities in the Gulf such as the weakening of Kenya's passport and hurting the government's efforts in dealing with issues of welfare for its citizens abroad.

“It is creative but we can be creative in other sectors. Some of them are losing their sight due to changaa. The things they are doing here they are doing there. That weakens our passport and bargaining points,” he stated.

The CS warned Kenyans living in the diaspora against undertaking illegal businesses, adding that President William Ruto's government will be ruthless and merciless on violators while assuring that the administration is looking out for their best interests while chasing their dreams in foreign nations.

"We are there for you and this government is longing to work for you from corner to corner to make sure you grow up with hope and dream that whatever you dream can come true. You don’t have to undertake all these illegal activities to make money.

"We don’t have mercy on you…you get rounded up and deported, we welcome you here and when you are convicted there, we will let them come and take them to Kamiti because changaa is also illegal here," he warned.

At the same time, Mutua uncovered the tricks Kenyans living in Saudi Arabia use to derail their colleagues who travel there for job opportunities to take up side gigs that are outside their visa status, thus exposing them to trouble.

“When you go to Saudi Arabia, it is a country that tells you very clearly, you come here and you work, you don’t want to work, say you’re quitting and you go home…very clearly. But stay at the place you are working. 

“When I was there I was surprised that when 100 Kenyans get there, about 20-30 vanish at the airport. They don’t get to their intended destination. They are picked up by other Kenyans to undertake illicit activity,” he said.

According to him, the Kenyans are recruited by other Kenyans to side hustles that have the capability of earning them extra money or asked to ditch their existing employers to work for other employers who pay more, which makes them fall out of status and become runaways.

Kenyans are sponsored by their employers and get access to free medical care as long as they possess a card indicating the credentials of their employer.

Mutua warned that falling out of visa status in Saudi Arabia lands one in trouble because they have broken the laws of the country, thus not only do they have trouble getting treatment, they are subsequently arrested and deported back to the country.

An image of Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh, at night. /FILE