The following statement was handed over to MP Walter Nyambati who is also the Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission. The MP promised to raise the issues in the Statement with his colleagues once he gets back to Kenya. He also promised to take up the exclusion of some Kenyans from the evening’s meeting with Ambassador Purity and encouraged dialogue as a solution to problems facing Kenyans in Stockholm and the Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia. He regretted that at a time when Kenya had a new Constitution, some Kenyans were still being prevented from attending meetings in Stockholm.
STATEMENT DELIVERED AT THE PICKET OUTSIDE THE RESIDENCE OF THE KENYAN AMBASSADOR TO SCANDINAVIA, MRS. PURITY MUHINDI BY “KENYANS AGAINST IMPUNITY IN STOCKHOLM”.
Thursday February 3rd 2011
Since her posting at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm, the Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia, H.E Mrs. Purity Muhindi, has been more problematic than helpful especially to members of the Kenyan community in Stockholm. The Ambassador has not only been antagonistic but also divisive, arrogant and isolated from Kenyans whom she has and continues to treat as second class citizens.
When she was posted at the Embassy, a land grabbing scandal at the Ambassador’s official residence was in progress. In this case, a portion of land belonging to the Kenyan government was hived off and sold to a neighbor at 2 million Kenyan shillings, a transaction that was illegal and that reeked of corruption. When the issue was raised by Kenyans in Stockholm, the Ambassador continued to ignore it. It was not until Kenyans put pressure and intervened through the Swedish authorities that the stolen piece of land was recovered. At that time, a group of Kenyans picketed outside the Ambassador’s residence and she called the Swedish police even though no crime was in progress. We are picketing at the residence to protest against the following:
Corruption at the Embassy
Corruption scandals, visa fraud and tender rackets are just a few of the high points of corruption at the Embassy. The Ambassador’s residence is always “under renovation” while the sole reason why the Ambassador has been hosting Kenya national celebrations outside Sweden is because such “away receptions” provides her Office with several opportunities to engage in corruption. According to information in our custody, “inflated bills” tops the method of corruption at the Embassy followed by “Visa fraud” in which records of visa proceeds are doctored to short change the Treasury in Kenya thereby resulting in a surplus of huge sums of cash which is then embezzled. This fraud, which is extremely sophisticated, is done through the conniving of corrupt State officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi. We call upon the Coalition government to investigate Ambassador Purity Muhindi because her corrupt activities are depriving the government of millions of Kenyan shillings that could increase government revenue.
The Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm has become a hub of human trafficking in the whole of Scandinavia. This explains why junior Embassy staff are always being changed to give room for new arrivals. Once a subordinate staff member arrives in Sweden, the strategy is normally to “fire the employee” who is normally encouraged “to go underground” before a new employee is brought in from Kenya. The bigger problem is that victims of human smuggling (who normally part with a huge amount of money to the traffickers) usually begin miserable lives in Sweden as they start “looking for papers”. Worse still, others usually end up being deported to Kenya thereby losing whole life-time savings. The Ambassador’s cook, who was sacked unceremoniously, is the latest case in point. We are picketing outside the Embassy to call for a stop to the practice of human smuggling at the Embassy because it is causing untold human suffering to victims who are normally left alone, homeless and destitute.
Since she was posted at the Embassy, the Ambassador has continued to act with impunity. In Kenya, corrupt politicians who are progressively rolling back the democratic gains, have and continue to act with impunity. Back in Stockholm, Purity is their extended arm in what has become known as the “Network of Impunity”. For example, celebrations of national days away from Stockholm, disrespect of Kenyans when they visit the Embassy, land grabbing at the residence, sacking Kenyan workers and replacing them with Swedish workers, failure to pay sacked workers their salaries, corruption at the Embassy, an “I don’t care attitude”, participation in the deportation of Kenyans, neglect of Kenyans even if they are freezing in the streets together with human smuggling and other forms of fraud are done because of the culture of impunity at the Embassy. Purity feels “protected” by her bosses in Nairobi. We are picketing outside her residence to call for an end to impunity at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm.
Lack of Service to Kenyan Citizens
The Embassy exists to serve the interests of Kenyans. However, the Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia has systematically ignored Kenyans in distress even in the most deserving and urgent situations. Recently, a group of six Kenyans got stranded in Stockholm after being cheated by a conman that they would pursue their education in Sweden. Since they had nowhere to go, they began to sleep in the streets in the middle of one of the coldest Swedish winters known in history. When the Kenyans sought help from the Ambassador, they were chased away and told to find their way back to Kenya. The Kenyans slept in the streets for over one week before they were rescued by a Kenyan citizen who took them to his one-roomed flat as the Ambassador returned to her multi-roomed residence. When Kenyans heard about the plight of their countrymen, they began to send in food supplies and other humanitarian assistance as the Ambassador continued to neglect them. The case of the Kenyans is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Kenyan Embassy continues to participate in illegal deportation of Kenyan citizens, sometimes even in bizarre cases. Just like other citizens, there are Kenyans who enter into relationships with Swedes but the problem is that when such Kenyans are facing deportation under whatever circumstances, the Kenyan Ambassador has consistently abetted the Swedish State in sending them back to Kenya without due process of the law. This usually happens when a Kenyan facing deportation has no travel documents. The Embassy is well known for supplying “one way Travel Certificates” to the Swedish deportation police to repatriate these Kenyans back home even in situations where their rights are being violated. In extreme cases, none Kenyan citizens have found themselves in Kenya after the Embassy issued “Travel Certificates” under mysterious circumstances. We are picketing outside the Ambassador’s residence to protest against this practice and to demand that the Ambassador serve Kenyan citizens at the Embassy, not the Swedish deportation police.
Secrecy with Kenyan MPs and dignitaries visiting Sweden
Any Member of Parliament or dignitary who travels to Sweden for official function does so at tax payer’s expense to pursue tax payer’s interests. When these government officials travel to Sweden, the Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia has a notorious habit of “shielding” these officials from Kenyans in Stockholm for unknown reasons. Government officials are representatives of the people who should not be shielded from their own people. Many Kenyans in Stockholm have issues to sort out with these officials at every possible opportunity and when such opportunities arise, the Ambassador has a notorious habit of secretly hand-picking her sycophants to meet these officials. This must stop!
Dictatorship at the Embassy
For those who are not aware, junior Embassy staff basically live in fear because of threats by Ambassador Purity. At the Embassy, staff members have to call her “Her Excellency”. Sad as it sounds, they serve her while “running” across the corridors to avoid being sacked. In short, Purity is authoritarian and dictatorial. We are picketing outside the Ambassador’s residence to demand that the Ambassador respect her members of staff.
Isolation from Kenyans
Ambassador Purity is basically unavailable to Kenyans in Scandinavia. She locks herself at the Embassy and rarely appears at Kenyan functions. She is in a “class of her own” and unlike her predecessors like Ambassador Michael Sergon and Ambassador Mukiri Kinyanjui, Purity Muhindi believes that Kenyans in Scandinavia are worthless. Ambassador Purity must come down to earth and stop isolating herself because members of the Kenyan community in Stockholm are not her enemies.
Tour of Duty Expired
Ambassador Purity Muhindi’s tour of duty has ended and therefore she needs to be recalled. She was posted at the Embassy in August 2006 and today, she has served more than four years at the Embassy. Because of her poor performance, and in view of the fact that she has outlived her time at the Embassy, we are calling upon the Kenyan government to recall her with immediate effect because she is a stumbling block to unity of Kenyans in Scandinavia. There is need for a new “Coalition Ambassador” in Scandinavia because Purity is still living during the days of Narc government. She is promoting the same impunity being practiced by her bosses in Kenya and therefore, she needs to go!
Kenyans Against Impunity in Stockholm
Kenyans Against Impunity in Stockholm is a group of Stockholm-based Kenyan organizations, Political parties, Human Rights Defenders, Academics, Workers, Students, Professionals, Church groups, Businessmen and independent individuals committed to fighting against impunity in Kenya and Internationally.
Out of all the dignitaries, MP Nyambati appears to have been the most strategic. After reading the placards, he got so concerned with the picketers that he opened a discussion. He was surprised that some Kenyans were not invited to meet them for some reasons and promised to take up the issue with the Ambassador. Apparently, the dignitaries were not updated about the evening’s picket and they were all surprised when they were confronted with placards. For almost twenty minutes, Nyambati discussed issues with the Kenyans before proposing that the protesters could have come up with a statement which he was immediately given. He promised to go through it and raise the matter with his colleagues back in Kenya.