Why Kenyans Are Reluctant To Return Home After Relocating Abroad


While a section of Kenyans have managed to live their dream abroad, another group of Kenyans can only tell of the suffering and struggle to survive in a foreign country.

The big question that baffles many is why Kenyans would choose to struggle in a foreign country than return home. A recent publication by Nation Africa takes us deep into some of the reasons that influence such decisions.

One of the common occurrence is a situation where some Kenyans would entirely abandon their homeland and even families once they get the opportunity to relocate abroad. A recently reported incident is of a popular Akorino artist Allan Aaron who abandoned his wife and children after he got a visa and travelled to America only for him to remarry while there.

In an interview with the media, his ex wife Ann Shiko revealed that the artist did not give him reasons for his decision but only packed his items and left.

With the perception that life is all rosy and grass is greener abroad, beyond the tendency of cutting off links with their Kin’s there is also a tendency of leading a private life where the family remains clueless about their Kin’s dealing abroad.

Nation tells of a lady who got a greencard and left for the US in 2006 to study and has since only visited her family once.

Some have complained of the pressure to send money back home and we can only assume that this pressure can be one of the reasons why some people cut communication.

David Ombati, a senior chief in Masaba South Sub-County confirms that indeed such cases have been on the rise in the recent past.

“Many other people from this region have left for the US. How they go and what they do is not known. And with the nature of today’s life where people do not want to be bothered, it becomes difficult to ask questions,” he said.

In what seems like a valid point and reason, A Kenyan socialite who has been based in Dubai since the COVID-19 outbreak once explained why she prefers living there than Kenya as she lamented on the high taxation rate, corruption and how there are so many obstacles for businesses to thrive.

Even if living abroad would push some people to the wall or what seems like a dead end, there are several situations that force them to stay.

According to Former University of Nairobi lecturer Omari Onyango some stay as a result of the high unemployment rate in Kenya especially if they went through a frustrating experience, others see no point in returning home if they do not have a stable income; although a number try to invest back in Kenya some end up being duped by greedy relatives.

“Kenya is experiencing a high unemployment rate and so to land a job with similar benefits as is the case in the US is difficult.

“Those who have tried to start a business in Kenya end up losing large sums of money because of lack of honesty among their relatives.” He explained

For Kenyans who are illegally staying abroad, a weak law enforcement system usually favours them to stay longer.

Although not returning home is a choice that others make, some find themselves stuck there as a result of many other contributing factors.

For instance some have ended up broke and homeless and cannot facilitate their travel back home.

An upcoming Kenyan musician Mercy Atis is one of the Kenyans who admitted to once being homeless in America, a situation that got her so desperate that she ended up being introduced to prostitution.

US-based Kenyan journalist Peter Makori highlighted how Kenyans who get the opportunity to study in America go with the perception that things will be smooth and swift only for them to find themselves in unforeseen situations.

With these concerns, different groups in the Diaspora has sparked conversations and held meetings to see how best such challenges can be overcome.