KAMPALA – A Ugandan maid, who was saved by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze from her alleged torture ordeal in Jordan, has finally explained the circumstances under which she left the country for the Middle East under the stewardship of Marphie International Recruitment Agency.
Gandhi Doreen Magezi, speaking from her hospital bed in Kampala on Thursday, July 11, accused export labour companies of exploiting many export workers by refusing to disclose to them the nature of work they are set to do in the Middle East.
“Most Ugandans, when you talk about the torture they think it is by a stick. I have ended up on this hospital bed because of the various things that I went through that kept on accumulating and affecting my health,” said Magezi, who is a diploma holder.
She revealed that she was taken by Marphie International Recruitment Agency but not briefed on what she was going to do. While in Jordan, Magezi says she worked in Amman, the country’s capital, for a lady who works as a civil servant.
“I went to Jordan to work but everything turned upside down and here I am on a hospital bed. I was paid for the first two months, the third month wasn’t paid. There are some preliminary contracts you sign. On the contract I signed, I saw the name of the country, the duration and my name. I didn’t see any detailed information,” she said.
She also revealed the nature of work she was doing.
“The size of the house was really big; 7 rooms plus. You wake up at about 6 am. You take about 4 to 5 hours to clean the house. The earliest you sleep is 10 pm, most times you’re on your feet working. Those people have different cultures and laws. Here in Uganda, you’re briefed bits about the Arab world but when you get there, you are surprised. I can’t tell if the agencies know the truth. They should come up with a way of knowing what really happens there. I was taken by a registered company, Marphie International Recruitment Agency,” she added.
Magezi added that as a result of overwork, she started developing health problems.
“The first 3 weeks were okay. It’s in the fourth week that I started feeling body pain. As days progressed, the pain intensified. One day, I was given chemical to scrub silver and bronze materials in the house. The moment you inhale the chemical, you feel pain. When I talked to my employer about it, their response was, ‘why did you leave your country to come work here’? When I started coughing blood and mucus, my employer gave herbal tea because, in the Arab world, you don’t get sick,” she added.
“I got Hon. Betty Nambooze’s number through a family contact. This was after I had tried everything but there was no rescue. I came aboard Fly Dubai vomiting all the way. I expected to be received by my family but to my surprise, I was received by security personnel. They took me to the police station. Marphie International Recruitment Agency asked me to refund the 3,000 dollars right from Jordan,” she said.
However, the Director of Marphie International Recruitment Agency Limited, Ms Ruth Karungi, early this week claimed Magezi “had an accident prior going to Jordan” and accused her of being lazy and refusing to work, allegations she has denied.
“We are not lazy because me going to work is a sign that I am hardworking. We leave for those countries because we’re looking for better pay. I went to Jordan to work but everything turned upside down and here I am on a hospital bed,” she said.
Ms Karungi early this week denied allegations of trafficking and selling Ugandans to Arabic countries.
She tasked Nambooze to produce evidence to substantiate her claims, saying they are always approached by poor girls for job placements.
“After the President signing a working pact with these Arabic countries we have been taking there both male and female youths who now have good and well-paying jobs. I wonder why one would claim that we sell them off. They are free to say whatever they want but the mighty lord is watching if I am telling lies it will return to me,” Ms Karungi said.