Kenyan Denied Toilet Facility at Kenya Embassy in Stockholm
As a Kenyan citizen resident in Stockholm, I have been very inspired by KSB’s exposes regarding the poor handling of “Kenya at 50” celebrations in Stockholm by the Kenyan embassy. As part of bringing issues to public notice, I wish to highlight a recent bad treatment I experienced at the hands of Embassy officials.
Even though Kenya has just celebrated its 50 years of Independence from the British colonial rule, the Kenya-Stockholm Embassy does not provide toilet facilities to Kenyans who visit the Embassy for various services like getting visas, passport renewals, etc.
During a recent visit at the Embassy, I was shocked when I was blatantly denied toilet facility at the Embassy. When Ambassador Kinyanjui was based at the Embassy a few years ago, I visited the Mission together with a friend who was allowed to visit the toilet so when I felt the urge to answer the call of nature, I naturally thought that there would be no big deal. In any case, Embassy premise is regarded as part of the Republic of Kenya so since I was “in my country”, visiting the toilet was the last right I expected to be denied.
To my surprise, I was told that the toilet at the Embassy is not a public toilet. When I tried to argue that I was not just a member of the Swedish public but a citizen of the Republic of Kenya, I was told by an official who was called to talk to me that the toilet at the Embassy is private. I was pressed in my bladder and so I rushed down-stairs to look for an option. Luckily, I found a coffee shop nearby where I helped myself. Although my immediate problem was solved, I was psychologically traumatized and it is for this reason that I wish to make my experience known to the public. There is no better way of doing so than seeking exposure at KSB.
Since the toilet facility has been available to visitors in the past when the current administration was away, what has changed to an extent that the toilet has now been privatized? Have there been new instructions from Amina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya that toilet facilities at Kenyan Embassies should be reserved for exclusive use by staff or is the case at the Kenyan Embassy a special one?
After I helped myself away from the Embassy, I went back to the mission because I had been waiting to be served when my bladder got full. Since I was pissed off, I requested to talk to the Ambassador but I was told that he was in a meeting. His Deputy was also unavailable and when I demanded the name of the official who had denied me the toilet facility, I was told that his name was not important. I got the impression that the Embassy was deliberately playing a game after denying me access to the toilet at the Embassy. To be honest, I was so disappointed although I did not try to make a scene out of it. This is unacceptable. I wondered what had happened to our country since Uhuru Kenyatta took over.
Together with the bungled Kenya at 50 celebrations, there is need for members of the Kenyan community in Stockholm to be concerned about how the Embassy is being managed. Embassy officials are paid by the tax man while the institution’s rent is also financed through tax money. It is therefore necessary that Kenyans in Stockholm take up issues raised about the Embassy as a way of pushing for changes.
I propose that every Kenyan who visits the Embassy request for toilet usage in protest because I do think that by doing so, Embassy officials will be ashamed and this will force them to act responsibly. This time, it was me who was denied access to the toilet and next time, it might be someone else. If we don’t act, we will continue to suffer and grumble in silence. If we make noise, the Embassy will be forced to change its bad ways. I hope that Kenyans will see the point I am trying to make. We must be part of the solution.
Pissed Off Kenyan Citizen