Kenyan security guard expelled by Qatar ripped for watching World Cup

Kenyan security guard expelled by Qatar ripped for watching World Cup


Malcolm Bidali, a Kenyan security officer who was expelled from Qatar after complaining about working conditions, is unwell watching the World Cup which begins this week.

“To say I’m not going to watch the World Cup would be a lie,” said the 30-year-old.

“But looking at the stadiums, I can’t help but wonder how many people have not been paid, how many have suffered terrible working conditions… how many have lost their lives.”

Bidali became an outspoken campaigner for migrant workers after being detained for four weeks and then deported from the Gulf state in 2021.

Qatar was in the run-up to the tournament, which is scheduled to take place on June 18.

Rights groups have complained about unpaid wages and unreported deaths on construction sites.

Qatar has implemented major reforms that have been praised by international unions, but Bidali is among the doubters.

“When all the cameras are gone, all the journalists are gone, all the fans are gone, it will be the migrant workers and employers and the state and I think it will be very difficult to maintain even the reforms that have already been put in place, let alone introduce new ones ‘ Bidali said.

– ‘Similar to slavery’ –

Bidali arrived in Qatar in January 2016 and worked as a security guard, viewing surveillance camera images on a screen 12 hours a day.

He had no complaints about his condition. He earned about $420 a month – much more than in Kenya – and lived in a villa with other migrant workers.

Bidali said his nightmare began when he moved to another company that paid him just $350 a month and moved into a 20-square-foot room he shared with five other men.

The beds, he said, were infested with lice and the kitchen with cockroaches.

Bidali said he owed $1,200 to a Kenyan recruitment agency – which helped him get his job and arrange a flight and visa – so he didn’t say anything at first.

But eventually he wrote email complaints to Qatar’s Labor and Home Affairs Ministries. According to Bidali, they have not responded.

Then he was contacted by, a specialized non-governmental organization, and he began writing anonymous blogs about the lives of workers in the prosperous Gulf state.

“The working conditions in Qatar are similar to slavery,” he said.

“You find yourself in a situation that is very difficult to get out of, where someone basically owns you. Someone decides very big aspects of your life, from when you wake up to when you go to bed, what kind of food you eat, where you live, who you associate with.”

– “Psychological pressure” –

Qatar used to be dominated by the so-called “kafala” sponsorship system for foreign workers, as it still is in most Gulf states.

But it has largely been dismantled in recent years. Workers can now change jobs and leave the country without their employer’s permission.

Qatar also introduced a minimum wage and new regulations for working in the heat.

Bidali said he ran into trouble when he wrote a story that mentioned a member of Qatar’s royal family.

He was arrested by the national security agency on May 4, 2021 and said he was not allowed to see a lawyer. He also complained of “mental pressures,” including having his cell lit all the time and losing track of the day and time.

Qatar accused him of receiving money from a “foreign agent” to take part in spreading “misinformation”, but he was eventually released after protests from the NGO and the professional footballers’ union.

He was banned from leaving the country, but after international publicity and diplomatic support, he was expelled in August 2021 after being ordered to pay a $6,000 fine.

Qatari authorities declined to respond to Bidali’s recent comments. In May it was said he had received “legal advice and representation”.

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