, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) wants the government investigate and deal with what it terms as increased racism by corporates, especially by foreign firms operating in the country.
Cofek Secretary General Stephen Mutoro says they have received concerns from employees of at least 12 different companies on challenges of being discriminated because of their skin colour.
“Of the 12 companies that we have received complaints from, seven are not local. I would like to say that this problem of racism in our firms is real and need to be addressed. You may not understand until it comes close to you,” Mutoro said.
Cofek is now calling on the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the Immigration Department at the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to work together and ensure proper scrutiny of those being given local work permits.
He says some of the major raised concerns include mass sacking of the locals in the favour of expatriate as well as poor working conditions.
“When you have sacking of Kenyans to bring people who don’t even qualify for a job, tells you there is a problem. People who don’t even have secondary education are being given big jobs in this country,” Mutoro said.
Cofek argues that if the issue is not addressed, it could raise unnecessary animosity amongst the members of staff which could end up scaring other genuine foreign investors away.
“The country must do all it can to ensure that we attract many investors into our country. But just like any many states, we must ensure there are laws and regulations to protect our people,” he said.
Mutoro’s statement comes a few days after a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi was accused of discriminating Africans by not allowing them to enter the eatery from 5pm. The restaurant has since been closed over licensing issues.
Mutoro mentioned the issue on Thursday when Cofek’s was marking its fifth year anniversary with emphasis being on consumer awareness in the country.
The lobby group plans to raise Sh100million every year for the next five years which will be largely used to increase consumer awareness and protection of their rights.