‘Unataka wabaki Kenya wafanye nini?’ – Ruto slams Raila after criticism over labour export
President William Ruto has fired back at opposition leader Raila Odinga following criticism over an increased number of Kenyans seeking greener pastures abroad.
Speaking during a church service at Kimende in Kiambu County on Sunday, December 10, the Head of State defended the government's bid to create more job opportunities for Kenyans abroad, saying the initiative would help reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
"Kwani alikuwa anataka wabaki hapa kenya wakifanya nini? Na bado. Amelalamika mapema. Watu watatoka Kenya hii waende wafanye kazi nche kwa maelfu," Ruto stated.
Loosely translated: "What did he (Raila) want them to do here? He has seen nothing yet. People will leave this country in their thousands to go and work abroad."
While defending his numerous foreign trips, Ruto affirmed that his government had signed bilateral agreements with several countries to secure job opportunities for Kenyans overseas. The countries include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and France.
Ruto on stabilising economy
According to the president, the opportunities will not only help thousands of Kenyans sustain their livelihood but also stabilise the economy.
"We want to ensure that our young people get a source of income. In fact, those leaving the country will send us dollars which will in turn ensure that the exchange rate stops giving us problems."
President Ruto also committed to creating jobs locally through the affordable housing programme and Information Communication Technology (ICT) hubs, which will be built in every ward.
"There are some who will stay here in Rukuma and get jobs through the housing project, others will work in the ICT hub and others will board planes the go work outside the nation. Didn't we agree that kazi ni kazi?" Ruto posed.
The Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader had on Friday, December 8, faulted the Kenya Kwanza government over plans to send more Kenyans abroad amid the high unemployment rate in the country.
Raila, while chiding the Head of State, said it's the responsibility of the government to create job opportunities for its citizens.
“Our children are struggling to get farm jobs in Israel, to be house helps in Saudi Arabia and security personnel in Qatar. Government officers themselves, including a whole president, openly say that they are trying to get jobs abroad for Kenyans,” Raila stated at the Catholic University while delivering a lecture dubbed ‘A Vision for the Next 60 Years and Beyond’.
“Young people with the new skills and knowledge that we need are being exported because the government cannot create jobs. And the government sees it as an achievement.”
Raila made the remarks after the government announced plans to send at least 1,500 casual labourers to work on agriculture farms in Israel.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection said the deal was reached during bilateral discussions between Principal Secretary Shadrack Mwadime and Managing Director of Guri Avocados, Rami Cohen.
According to the ministry, the workers will earn a monthly net income of $1,500 equivalent to Ksh230,025 in the current exchange rate.
"These opportunities number about 1,500 with a guaranteed net income of 1,500 USD per month, on 3 years renewable contracts," the ministry announced.
Last month, President Ruto said his administration aims to send 3,000 to 5,000 Kenyans abroad weekly as part of efforts to deal with the unemployment crisis.