For the last few weeks, the media has been awash with stories of Nakintu Judith, a Ugandan domestic worker who allegedly lost her kidney while in Saudi Arabia. In these media reports, Nakintu’s family says that her employer apparently lured her to a hospital to take a Covid-19 vaccination. The problem with this narrative is that, by that time, there was no such a thing as a Covid-19 vaccine anywhere in the world. Bigger and wealthier countries like the US were not even sure of what this virus was exactly. The fact that they used this narrative means, there is a malicious attempt by some people, including Immigrant Workers Voice to tarnish the name of Nile Treasure Gate and the entire labour externalization fraternity. It also indicates that there could be a powerful force or group of people trying to take advantage of Nakintu’s unfortunate predicament to push an agenda.
Also, the media seems to have ignored the fact that Judith’s issue started in early 2020 from a well-documented incident that even ended with local Saudi authorities apprehending the culprit. Nakintu as police reports indicate got involved in a motor accident on the 04th, March 2020. Like they always do, they rushed her to the hospital where it was discovered that she had sustained multiple internal injuries, her lungs and kidneys being part of them. However, they didn’t remove them as many seem to put it. She was also not alone in this accident. Two members of her employer’s family perished in the same accident.
To say, therefore, that there was an element of foul play in this particular case seems to be way farfetched, especially if we deliberately choose to ignore verified facts that were clearly translated by the Makerere University College of Humanities.
Also, ignoring medical reports and coming up with their own unverified stories is something that’s a bit questionable. What kind of medical reports do these players want since everything has been displayed to them and verified by multiple sources?
If like they say, Nile Treasure Gate was negligent in handling Nakintu’s case, would they have reported the case to the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies(UAERA) or even to the Ministry of Gender, Labour, And Social Development like they did in their letters dated 5th, April 2020 and 27th, August 2020 respectively?
In the meantime, a lawsuit was filed on her behalf and the court ruled in her favour. The 30th January ruling ordered her employer Saad Dhafer to compensate her about UGX268,300,000 after legal fees. The company lawyer further released documents, including a traffic report, confirming that Judith was involved in an accident that killed two of her employer’s children.
A few issues at play.
Another issue that is at play here is the numerous press briefings, direct calls, and a petition to the speaker of the parliament of the Republic of Uganda by Immigrant Workers Voice for a ban on the externalization of Ugandan Immigrant workers to the Middle East especially house helps. The question here is, considering the number of Ugandans that externalization of labour has given a chance to work abroad and be able to sustain their livelihoods and families, who will provide jobs for thousands of jobless Ugandans on the streets? In the event that they indeed ban external labour recruitment, what then happens to these thousands of Uganda currently working in the Middle East? Who will follow up with them when their handlers are no longer at play? Do Immigrant Workers Voice and its backers have a plan to repatriate all Ugandans in the Middle East and actually get them better-paying jobs?
Okay, let’s say they repatriate them, and noting clearly that some of these Ugandans are un-skilled and may not find any jobs in Uganda that pay them more than 200,000/=, will they get them jobs to match what they are currently earning in the Middle East? Maybe, maybe not, but until then, let’s look at the facts surrounding Nakintu Judith’s story and consume it with a bit of salt. There is more to this story than meets the eye.