Citizen TV anchor Yvonne Okwara accused the government of betraying Kenyan citizens stranded in China after the government reportedly accused them of being behind a new wave of COVID-19 infections
Speaking during Yvonne’s Take segment on Citizen TV on Thursday, April 16, Okwara dismissed the government’s handling of the crisis that saw Kenyans spend the night in the streets and without basic necessities.
“Kenyans in China were mistreated and locked out of their homes. A couple expecting a baby was reportedly denied medical assistance at a nearby hospital.
“They then did the natural thing that a child would do and ran to their mother, which would be the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing to seek help, but this help was not forthcoming so they were forced to sleep in the streets,” she narrated.
Okwara questioned the silence from the Kenyan Ambassador to China Sarah Serem and CS Foreign affairs Rachel Omamo at a time when they were supposed to execute the mandate that has them occupying their offices at the Ministry.
Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau who gave a presser praising Serem for working “exceptionally hard in light of tough circumstances in China” also earned the wrath of Okwara as she insisted that Kenyans in China were in a tougher spot than Serem.
“Well, it has been difficult for the Kenyans too, considering that many have slept in the streets, have been denied healthcare at hospitals and access to public transport.
“Meanwhile, I am sure that the ambassador herself has had a place to sleep, food to eat and will get medical attention if she requires it,” Okwara disputed Macharia Kamau’s assertions.
Okwara further accused Kamau of blaming the victims of the mistreatment as being undocumented and not registered with the embassy, a matter that while Okwara conceded might have been true, was of no consequence since the victims were Kenyans either way.
She compared the handling of the crisis in China with the way Chinese citizens found in Kenya illegally had been handled, especially after one was caught whipping a hotel worker, to the chagrin of the country.
She opined that despite the gross violations which included lack of work permits, they were treated humanely, and instead of facing the law, they were immediately deported, a courtesy that has not been extended to Kenyans in China.
A screenshot of a conversation with a Kenyan stuck in China, April 9, 2020.FILE
Okwara further took the battle to the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng who expressed his regret at the treatment of Kenyans but has not yet issued an official statement under the guise that he does not prefer social media as a proper communication channel.
“Surely, this is the person who has met the Kenya Editors Guild on multiple occasions. He is no stranger to how things happen in Kenya and how to engage the Kenyan population at large.
“Moreover, he has been exposed to many cultures and systems having worked in many diverse places such as Sierra Leone and the UK, he must surely know something about modern communication,” she opined.
Okwara further accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of speaking for ambassador Serem, CS Omamo, and the Chinese ambassador at the same time but not speaking for the Kenyan citizens whom they have been tasked with defending.
“Maybe Ambassador Serem was right when she said at the beginning of the crisis that all we could do for Kenyans in China was pray, because, clearly, they are on their own,” she concluded.