Kenyans should stand up against modern day slavery by the Asian Community in Kisumu – Kenya


If you are born and bred in Kenya, then I guess you have come across a friend, relative or neighbor who works or has at one point in life worked for an Indian living in Kenya.

Well, personally I have experienced both, one as an employee and the other, from interacting with relatives who work for the Asians. The kind of mental torture and abuse that one undergoes while under their jurisdiction is so immense.

In 2018, while in Kisumu, I got to work for a go down shop owned by an Asian that stored and sold Home furniture and products. After going for 3 or so sets of interviews to secure the employment, I was finally recruited to be their Marketing Officer by word of mouth with a starting salary of kes 15,000 per month for the probation period (which was not stated that it would last for how long). This salary was not standard as once you began working, you would be paid in wages on the days that you report to work meaning Sundays would be exempted. After deductions what you take home would be kes 12,000 at most before catering for any bill.

On the D day of beginning the job, I was told I would be the floor manager, here I was to make sure that the 2nd floor of that building was fully stocked, neat, make sure the washroom that was being used by the Indian boss was cleaned thrice a day (whether or not he was around). As a floor manager, I was also supposed to do cashier work for any goods purchased from the floor. Shock on me, the desktop was placed in such a way that you could only operate on it while standing.

Standard rule for all employees was, “no one is allowed to be seated while in the premise.” One is expected to be busy at all times, and stroll around to attend to all the clients on your floor. Even leaning on the wall to give your back a rest, would get you summoned by the boss as he had CCTV cameras installed on every floor. As one reported to work in the morning, you were required to leave your phone at the reception desk together with your bag and pick them while exiting the building in the evening. Woe unto you, if someone was to contact you in case of emergency as their calls or text messages would go unresponded to and your guess is as good as mine on what would transpire next.

Target sales for each floor manager was kes 500,000 per day, out of which you would only take home 500 as your daily wage. If a client broke anything, the Indian boss would rush to ask them not to pay, with claims that the product is insured only for it to be deducted from the wages of the floor manager. Reporting to work a minute late would get you sent back home. Falling sick and seeking treatment during working hours would get you a deduction from your salary. Lunch break was strictly 15 minutes with a fixed timing like in schools, there would be no extended time allowance even if you went late due to serving of clients.

My highlight of the torture by the Asian boss in Kisumu was how he used to call us blacks, “MENTALLY LAZY, ” every morning before work.

While working for an Asian in Kenya, natural human development like getting pregnant, sick, seeking leave especially maternity is an ample reason to get you fired. Most of them also do not issue job contracts, remit taxes and issue medical insurance to cut on cost

As Kenyans, it is high time we stood against the oppression, slavery, mistreatment and underpayment by the Asian community in Kisumu and beyond. It is high time that we got our dignity back. It is high time that we fought for better working conditions for our brothers and sisters. This is the only way to have an all round inclusivity that can help build and grow our economy as a nation.

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