A day after Nyamakima, Gikomba and Kamukunji traders were teargassed by police after holdings demonstrations in the streets of Nairobi, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has held a top-level meeting with the traders.
The traders closed their businesses on Tuesday and marched to Gachagua’s office on Harambee Avenue where they sought to deliver a memorandum but were stopped by the police.
They are protesting over what they call unfair business practices by Chinese nationals who have taken over their businesses including retail and particularly the proprietor of China Square on Thika Road.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria further inflames passions when took side with the traders and asked the owner of China Square to stop retail and instead start manufacturing.
The issue has sparked a big debate among Kenyans with many worried that the government was more worried about a few traders who were overcharging them instead of the majority consumers who were being exploited.
During the meeting, Gachagua said listening to the people for inclusive and lasting decisions was one of the Kenya Kwanza guiding principles.
“It is for this reason that I held a meeting with Nairobi-based small-scale traders at Harambee House Annex, Nairobi, today, over challenges they presented as impediments to their businesses,” he said.
Among the senior government officials present were Cabinet Secretaries Prof Kithure Kindiki (Interior and National Administration), Dr Alfred Mutua (Foreign and Diaspora Affairs) and the National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa.
Also present to listen to and act on the grievances were Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudonand his counterparts Abubakar Hassan Abubakar (Investment) and Julius Korir (Cabinet Affairs).
Others were, Kenya Revenue Authority Board Chairman Anthony Mwaura, Acting KRA Commissioner-General Rispah Simiyu, Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Bernard Njiraini, Director of Immigration Alexander Muteshi, Anti-Counterfeit Authority Executive Director Dr Robi Mbugua and other heads of respective agencies.
Gachagua said they agreed on a three-week timeline to exhaustively consider the issues for comprehensive interventions.