By Jon Pen

The Kenyan Minister for Internal Affairs in his speech to MPs sometime in April was on the issue employment, or lack thereof, for their youth, especially withdrawal and issuance of work permits from and to foreigners working illegally in Kenya.

Five months later, how does this become an issue with innocent South Sudanese women and children now spending cold nights in police cells out there?

Remember, there is difference between work permit and visa or refugee status. There is nothing immigration here, it’s about public service and human resource management through internal affairs ministry, not foreign affairs or immigration authorities. The latter needs a different ministerial order, and it carries some diplomatic risks!

How about the fact that Kenyan government in 2017 reported that Remittances (money transfers from Diasporas) are a major GDP contributor. Does the minister know that these money senders are mostly South Sudanese? That money is spent all in Kenya by thousands of families here.

In fact, tens of thousands of South Sudanese urban residents, students and refugees are zero consumers of their own money in Kenya. This is what is called remittance from home or abroad by South Sudanese family breadwinners. We do not work in Kenya. We go to schools, hospitals and tourists’ sites. How do we become such a liability to the host country?

Could there be a conspiracy by the police and immigration goons somewhere on between? This is yet to be revealed, since the Minister’s order is not this!

Can the South Sudan Government clearly explain to their Kenyan counterpart why it is economically unethical to arrest a woman and her children who spend an average of 100,000 Kshs ($1,000) on rent, fees, food and other taxes to the Government and people of Kenya every month for the last or next 5 years? Now, if you chase away 1,000 dollars per month just because you want 50 dollars in visa fees in 3 months, what witchcraft made you implement that?

…Not to mention the EAC membership brotherhood!

NB: The winner here is South Sudan Embassy (Immigration and Passport Section) as thousands will be lining up for renewals or new document acquisition, altogether!

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