The arrest and prosecution of four Chinese accused of whipping a Kenyan hotel worker has drawn much public attention because of flagrant violation of rights. Contrary to what some may think, it’s not a race but a human rights question.
Precisely, it is for this reason that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last week directed that the four be deported to their country because Kenya cannot allow individuals of whatever colour or creed to subject locals to such inhuman treatment. Firms and organisations have workplace practices and regulations. Systems exist for punishing errant employees, but not unleashing terror as was the case with the hapless hotel worker.
In the latest development, High Court Judge Luka Kimaru temporarily suspended Dr Matiang’i’s directive, ostensibly to allow the law to take its course. This looks a setback, but we hope it’s for reasonable cause. It is recalled that a subordinate court had earlier ruled that the suspects be held in custody for 15 days to allow for further investigations and other requisite processes.
The key point is fidelity to the due process of law. Thus, we call for expeditious trial of the suspects so that they can face consequences of their action. In the event they’re convicted, they should serve their sentence here first and thereafter deported.
No individual should humiliate another. Workplace is not a prison where some people can mete out corporal punishment on others. Even in prisons, warders do not cane inmates. Such acts are not only demeaning, but demonstrate the scorn some people have over others. It’s reprehensible and disgraceful.
Minute details cannot be canvassed here because the matter is active before the court. But some principles can be teased out. There is concern that some foreign nationals are notorious for abusing, insulting and disparaging Africans working in their enterprises. Kenya has opened its doors to foreigners to live and do business, but there are rules and regulations. Foreigners seeking to work here must secure work permits and proper documentation. Similarly, they must respect the law of the land.
A situation in which foreigners come and set up shop here, without proper papers, and worse, breach rules, must be discouraged. Not only should such cranks be expelled, but their accomplices be identified and sanctioned.
Kenya has emerged as a modern economy with huge presence of international workers. Regrettably, some of the foreigners are criminals and crooks who find easy solace here. We demand that such fellows be banished. The least we expect from the foreigners is conformity to the law and respect for locals.