Image of handcuffs. PHOTO | COURTESY
Seven Chinese nationals were arrested on Wednesday at Nairobi’s Gikomba Market for illegally engaging in trading activities.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said the six foreigners will be immediately deported back to their countries.
According to the government, three of the Chinese nationals had no valid work permits while the other four are said to have been engaging in employment and other income generating activities unauthorized under their respective work permit classes.
“Upon further interrogation, seven Chinese nationals were found to have vagrantly flouted immigration rules… Consequently the Cabinet Secretary in charge of immigration has signed deportation orders as recommended by law,” read the statement.
The Ministry reiterated that it is an offence for any foreigner to enter or remain in Kenya to temporarily engage in trade, prospecting, farming, business, professional employment, missionary activities without a permit of the relevant class.
On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i ordered the deportation of all foreigners doing business as traders in Kenyan markets.
This was after local traders in Nairobi’s Gikomba, Nyamakima and Kamukunji markets raised concerns over the unfair competition posed by foreigners, especially Chinese nationals, who have set up shops in the areas.
“We are not issuing work permits to traders. We don’t do that as government. We don’t have a classification of work permits called traders and any people who are in markets trying to trade… those are illegal immigrants they are here illegally and our security understands that. We will deport them,” said Matiang’i.
The Chinese are said to be posing a threat to the Kenyan traders due to their financial advantage and ability to take strategic control of the importation of cheap second-hand goods from their country.
Considering the bulk of goods imported from China into Kenya, the Chinese nationals have taken control of both the wholesale and retail businesses brewing tension in the markets, as locals threaten to take matters into their own hands.