27 June 2019

East Africa: Kenya Must Assure Safety of Foreigners

editorial

The call by the Kenyan legislator Charles 'Jaguar' Njagua on Tuesday to "eject foreigners" operating as traders in Nairobi marketplaces dangerously borders on xenophobic nationalism.

In his clearly bigoted remarks that went viral on social media via a video clip, the self-styled 'Jaguar' said "... Kenyans must conduct their businesses without competing with people from other countries.

Pakistanis are dominating the sale of vehicles in Nairobi... Tanzanians and Ugandans are dominating in our markets. We say enough is enough. If they are not sent home within 24 hours, we will beat them - and we do not fear anybody!"

Coming hot on the heels of the deportation by the Kenya government of six Chinese nationals who were found selling secondhand clothes in Nairobi's Gikomba market, the utterance by 'Jaguar'must be taken most seriously.

This is especially the case for those of us who advocate and seek to pursue regional socio-econo-political integration in earnest - as called for in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community signed in Arusha, Tanzania, by the Presidents of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania on November 30, 1999.

In the event, the Tanzanian government summoned the Kenyan High Commissioner in Dar es Salaam, His Honourable Dan Kazungu, to explain the xenophobic remarks made by his countryman and Member of the Kenyan Parliament for the Starehe Constituency in Nairobi County.

Not unexpectedly, the High Commissioner categorically dissociated the Kenya Government from the MP's unholy remarks that richly deserve censure. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told Parliament that the Kenyan government has "distanced itself from Mr Njagua's comments, and verbally assured safety to foreigners who wish to invest in the country."

Really...?

In all fairness, and without prejudice: can we get something more concrete by way of assurance in that regard than mere diplomatic mumble jumble?

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