The gospel hitmaker, while appearing on K24 TV on Friday morning, August 13, issued a controversial explanation on why Kenyan men working in the Middle East are never subjected to mistreatment.
“The reason you do not hear about men being mistreated is that they do not go to sleep with their bosses’ wives. The main reason you see some people get mistreated in the Middle East is because of indiscipline.”
â€œMost Kenyans arrive in the country and engage in immoral activities. In cases of indecency and indiscipline, one has to face the consequences,” the Huratiti hitmaker claimed – a remark which many argued specifically targeted women.
He encouraged those travelling to the Middle East to focus on their work, adhere to laws that govern agencies, employees and employers.
Gait, however, alleged that some recruiting agencies were headed by unscrupulous agents who prey and take advantage of unsuspecting and helpless job seekers.
“It is very important for some who want to go to the Middle East to first of all know if the agency that is taking them there has processes in place to assist them in case of a problem. Some agencies use shortcuts and can land you into problems,” Gait advised.
In an interview in June 2021, the artist stated that he took a break from music to focus on securing employment for Kenyans abroad. This, the 39-year-old stated, was a way of giving back to the society that had supported his music career spanning over a decade.
His remarks come at a time when different sectors are opposed to Kenyans securing jobs in the Middle East, whose countries were accused of mistreating, kidnapping and even murdering foreign job seekers.
A number of Kenyans who managed to be repatriated complained that their bosses seized their passports and other identification documents, infringed on their rights and often tortured them.
â€œKenyans are being mistreated in the Middle East but according to Jimmy Gait, it’s because they want to sleep with their bosses?â€ one Jamlick wondered.
â€œBeing raped, sexually assaulted and being mistreated is “discipline”??? What is this?â€ Wanjiru Nguhi added.
â€œI completely agree with Jimmy Gait. Before you head to the Middle East for work, make sure that the recruiting agency has a process in place to help you in case you land into a problem,â€ Lord Dave argued.
In July 2021, Kenya started reviewing Bilateral Labour Agreements (BLAs) with Middle East countries on handling migrant workersâ€™ pay, welfare and dispute resolution.
The National Employment Agency (NEA) stated that the BLAs would address confiscation of travel documents by employers, restrictions, minimum pay, dispute resolution and contract substitution.
Labour Principal Secretary, Peter Tum, added that the Ministry was coordinating with ambassadors of the said countries to streamline the recruitment process hijacked by money-oriented agencies.
Tum added that a program dubbed Rapid Response Initiative would oversee the creation of labour migration policy to cater for the welfare of the migrant workers.