Ruto should push Africa immigration concerns

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 11:00 | By
President William Ruto.
President William Ruto. PHOTO/Courtesy

There is no doubt President William Ruto is soaked in so many bread-and-butter issues that are likely to consume his time for his entire five-year first term in office.

A sagging economy, delayed salaries for civil servants, hunger and starvation, insecurity, a wobbling education and painful healthcare systems, a resurgent opposition, unemployment, regional conflicts and corruption are obviously the issues dominating his in-tray six months down the line.

Be that as it may, Ruto must still stand up to strongly imprint Africa’s voice on the global stage. To his credit, the President has been firm on the subject of climate change and global trade imbalances. However, he still has to do more. One area where the Head of State needs to get his voice heard is immigration. This is a serious matter that has subtly elicited racism and dehumanising segregation in the so-called developed world, with Africa being the major victim.

Before he left office, Ruto’s predecessor, retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, had attempted to address the thorny issue but did not get the required support from his counterparts on the African continent.

In fact, no African leader has dared to take up that matter since he exited State House as its formal occupant.

In September 2019, Uhuru addressed himself to the demeaning plight of poor African immigrants who drown in the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis attempting to cross the mass water body on crammed rickety boats to Europe in search of what they anticipate to be a better life.

While addressing the 42nd Conference of the Organisation of African Trade Unions Unity (OATUU) at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, Uhuru stated: I really want to reiterate from one Pan-Africanist to several in this room. It is very disheartening to see our sons and daughters struggle, lose life crossing the Mediterranean Sea, being humiliated in foreign lands because we cannot get together and grow our own prosperity and provide employment, a future and hope for them.  I believe that together with our African brothers and sisters we can find the answer and the solutions if we come together. We are not each other’s enemy. We must learn that our solidarity, our collaboration is our prosperity and our future.

Uhuru’s observations were and remain spot-on. For over a decade and counting, Europe and America have continued to narrow their doors to immigrants, especially those from Africa. Sadly, African leaders have not been resolute on how to handle the problem.

It is a baton Ruto must be ready and willing to take without blinking. Time is now for Africa to stand up to its needs. Leaders on the continent must change the African Union from a mere talk-shop into a serious caucus of reasonable men and women who think, plan and lay stronger foundations for the future of the continent.

This is where Ruto must come in. He must stick his neck out and firmly speak out on this menace. Ruto should ceaselessly take this agenda to his colleagues at continental gatherings so that their annual assembly in the Ethiopian capital carries meaning on the lives of Africans they lead.

Africa lacks a voice outside its frontiers.  Ruto should not fear to take the gauntlet. He should instead run with it so that one day, in future, Africa can be respected beyond its boundaries.

The author is the Revise Editor at the People Daily — [email protected]

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