What you need to know:
- Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Amb Abbey Walusimbi renewed vows that President Museveni was edging towards cracking down on errant stakeholders in the labor externalization industry.
Florence Nantume has worked as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia for close to three years “in a deliberate aim to improve her income and better life back home.”
The 32-year-old Ugandan recounts hundreds of days when she’s braced vigorous domestic activities, including washing utensils while standing for over four hours- eventually triggering physical disorders.
“I fell sick and didn’t even receive any treatment from my Saudi bosses as per my contract. Sometimes, the workload becomes excessive and bosses are ruthless. You are always on your own,’’ she told Monitor on August 25.
Annually, tens of Ugandan migrant workers are brutally killed by their employers on foreign land amid many bodies repatriated with missing organs.
On Thursday, another Ugandan migrant worker in the conservative Saudi kingdom, Alisha Nanyanzi, denounced government for “previously letting them suffer on their own while abroad.”
But speaking at the launch of the 2022 Migrant Stakeholders' run on August 25, several migrant laborers acknowledged that the event, first of its kind, starting at 6am on October 2 is “a landmark step for the State to streamline the industry to address their plight.”
“For so long, we have not been represented as key decisions are taken by government and recruitment agencies. In this run, all stakeholders have put their differences aside and come together to champion our concerns,” they said.
There are over 200, 000 Ugandans working in Saudi Arabia alone with about 5 per cent of these known to be suffering, according to official government data.
“The run is aimed at creating awareness about the plight of our citizens working abroad by highlighting different success stories of different stakeholders in the field and furthering support channels that help them,” said Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Amb Abbey Walusimbi.
This publication understands that collections from the run will be directed towards establishing reception centers to reintegrate migrant returnees.
Additionally, Mr Walusimbi also renewed vows that President Museveni was edging towards cracking down on errant stakeholders in the labor externalization industry that has spread nearly 1million Ugandans across the globe, especially in the Middle East.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure migrant workers’ rights and safety are guaranteed wherever they are,” he said at Kololo Independence Grounds, venue for the run.
Speaking after the launch of the run, about 4/5 Ugandan migrant workers who had voluntarily returned home Thursday afternoon said they were "hopeful and considering a return to the Gulf States to continue work."
“Migrant worker-training companies should start using people who have been to those countries as trainers since they can relate with the reality on the ground,’’ they urged, one day after a family protested recent multiple deaths of Ugandans in the Arab world at the Saudi embassy in Kampala.