Changes with Kenyan Authorities Bringing Challenges


The Tate Family has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

August 28, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Over the last couple of months I have noticed some slight, yet disconcerting, changes in the way the Kenyan authorities are viewing and treating the expatriates that live and work in this country.  I have lived in Kenya for ten years but it is only recently that I’ve noted some vexing changes that cause me concern.  (In case you are unfamiliar with the term “expatriate” I am using it to refer to any person who lives outside their native country – missionary, military, immigrant, foreign worker, etc.  I am using it in place of the more disparaging word, “foreigner”).  For example:

  • For most of the years we have lived here we would get pulled over by traffic police just like any other driver. When our documents would be verified we would go on our way. Now it seems that police officers pull us over simply because we are expatriates, harassing us, threatening arrests when there is no fault, and demanding illegal bribes.
  • Soldiers in Nairobi have stopped us and asked why we have Chloe, asking questions about her, doubting that she was abandoned and basically questioning the validity of our guardianship of her
  • Expatriates who have adopted or have legal guardianship of Kenyan children have been disparaged and vilified in the news and media. The news and media have been accusing such people (and their legitimate adoption agencies) of child trafficking and illegally obtaining these children and attempting to whisk them away to foreign countries. They paint these law abiding people in a very bad light and make the general public to think of any non-Kenyan as unfit to care for Kenyan children.
  • All expatriates were recently required to make a personal appearance in Nairobi to have all of their legitimate paperwork and documents re-verified.
  • Expatriates are being rounded up at local malls and detained until their documents are “verified” by authorities. Some are being incarcerated and not being brought before magistrates in a timely manner while local authorities threaten and harass them in order to receive bribes.
  • Work permits are being denied. Also, I just read in the news today that work permit renewals could not be submitted for renewal while the expatriate was actually still residing in the country.  The renewals can only be submitted from the worker from outside the country.

These changes are troubling to me.  A country that doesn’t treat its expatriates well is not heading in the right direction.  I love the country of Kenya and don’t want to see it change for the worse.

As a result of these changes and in order to obtain a more secure standing in the country I will be pursuing what is called a Permanent Residency.  This is not a dual citizenship but is basically what it sounds like.  It will allow me to become a permanent resident of Kenya without having to rely on the unstable and undependable work permit renewal process.  This program is open to expatriates who have lived in Kenya for 7-plus years.  This doesn’t solve every problem but it would give me a more secure position as a resident of Kenya.  It is a costly (upwards of $5,000), lengthy (it has taken others 1-2 years), difficult process to accomplish so I do ask that you all be in prayer for me as I initiate this program.

Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Amy, Josiah & Chloe)

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