Ties between Saudi and Uganda shaky after maid abuse video

A video of a Ugandan maid abusing a child that was uploaded by a diplomat from the Saudi Embassy in Uganda has gone viral

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A video of a Ugandan maid abusing a child that was uploaded by a diplomat from the Saudi Embassy in Uganda has gone viral, Makkah daily reported.

The diplomat said he intended for the video to reach the Saudi recruitment company that signed a contract with the Ugandan Labor Ministry two months ago.

The contract stated that the company would recruit Ugandan maids and drivers for a salary of SR750 (approximately $200) a month.

The Saudi Deputy Chief of Mission in Uganda Haza al-Otaibi warned Saudis against recruiting Ugandan expatriates on their own.

He said: “Recruitment needs to be done through an official agreement between the countries.

“Employees will not be issued visas to come to the kingdom in Uganda if the transactions were not done through official channels.”

Otaibi said 500 visas were issued to Ugandans to come to the kingdom so far.

The visas were for 400 maids and 100 drivers. The number of Ugandan maids sponsored individually and not through the Saudi recruitment company does not exceed 200 so far.

Otaibi said: “There have been many problems with recruitment transactions involving Ugandan expatriates.

“Many of the Ugandan maids that arrive in Saudi Arabia leave shortly afterward, not completing 20 days with their sponsors.

“The maids would complain to their embassy demanding their financial rights. However, Saudi sponsors claim they do not have any dues to pay considering that the maids have not completed a month.

“The Ugandan Embassy has taken a negative stand at the issue as it would take the maid into custody and call in the sponsor, questioning his financial responsibilities toward her.

“This is considered an intrusion of Saudi authority.”

The Ugandan Embassy’s third secretary said most of the problems the embassy receives are maids asking for outstanding wages.

He said: “Uganda does permit Saudi sponsors to apply for recruitment individually. They just have to be licensed by the Saudi recruitment company and have some connections in Uganda to help get the maid through security procedures at the airport.”

He also added that he looked into the paperwork of maids who were sponsored by Saudis individually and not through the company. Their monthly salaries are SR2,000 to SR4,000. The Ugandan Embassy is currently renegotiating the contracts between the countries.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2014.

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