Fair Pricing Will Sell Your Goods. Not Fighting the Chinese

8 mins read

The Ruto regime is staring at a quagmire with their self-inflicted war against Chinese Traders in Kenya getting out of control. The simple thing to understand for this government is that starting something stupid can be very easy. It is controlling it that can be a nightmare.

The Ruto DP, Gachagua, who has made himself the president of the Kikuyus under Ruto started this rage against China Square Unicity mall because the megastore was selling goods to Kenyans at good prices and getting a lot of customers while other traders in Nairobi, fleecing out their customers with crazy prices were running out of people to exploit.

This made some traders very mad and they went to their president Mr. Rigathi Gachagua and demanded something be done to close China Square mall so that the customers can be forced back to be ripped off by retailers at Gikomba and Nyamakima stores. “Stop China Invasion” seems to be the theme of the Gachagua demos. How about “Stop Excessive Prices on Goods”?

The strange thing here is that the worst possible thing that can happen now is for the Chinese owner of the Unicity Mall to say to hell with this and closes his shop for good. When those customers who will be forced to buy stuff that they could get at the mall at good prices now only available at expensive prices imposed on them, they will come to Gachaguas office with their own demonstrations. The poor guy will need a cave to hide in.

Already the Ruto mobsters are at work trying to dismantle the China Square stores.

According to the latest news, the war against Chinese Business has gone a huge step up. The Anti-Counterfeit Authority on Tuesday revealed that it seized counterfeited goods worth Sh50 million at China Square Mall over a week ago.

The authority said in a statement the seizure followed a complaint over the branding of the goods with “Finder”, the registered trademark of M/s Smithmo Company Limited.

The goods include hardware materials and tools owned by the brand owner.

“The Authority’s Enforcement Directorate acted promptly on the complaint and conducted an inspection on 16/2/2023 at the China Square Mall, leading to in-situ seizures of goods with an approximate value of Sh50 million,” the statement read.

Incidentally, this is the first time Kenyans are hearing about the “Anti-Counterfeit Authority”. Why not just call it the “Anti-China Traders Authority”? If this kind of nonsense keeps moving on, it is going to become a diplomatic nightmare for Kenya in a few days.

Beating up on Chinese traders is one thing, having a confrontation with the Chinese government is a whole new ball game. China has traders and business people all over the world and this sad story in Kenya is all over the big media across the world. This will not end well for Kenya and it was started right from the DP’s office and that is how the Chinese government is going to respond to it.

There are real issues that should have been addressed here to help Kenyan traders. Number one is why are your prices so high? Are you being super exploitative to your customers or do you face other costs that make your prices so high?

Mr. Lei Cheng told Kenyans that he buys the goods and materials from the same sources as other Kenyan traders and most of it is at discount prices in China but when Kenyan traders bring them to their shops they are being sold at premium prices.

In fact, that is how the guy started his business just one month ago. He saw a big opportunity because the Kenyan traders were overcharging everything. He took that opportunity and started his business on January 29, 2023, and now less than one month later the Kenyan traders are rioting in the city because this one guy is beating them in business.

One possibility could be that the Kenyan traders are paying excessive rent in how much is paid per square foot in those shops compared to what Mr. Cheng is paying per square foot in his mall. Why are customers driving all the way to China Square and avoiding the traders right next to them?

The other thing you see at China Square is that they have free parking for customers in the basement of their building. In many of those Nairobi shops forget any idea of a parking spot. Who is going to shop there when they cannot even get a parking spot for their cars anywhere close to the store?

Can the government waive off the taxes for their Kenyan traders to be competitive? There are so many things the Ruto government could have thought of and come up with the help Kenyan traders need instead of launching this anti-Chinese war game just to incite people.

In fact, the traders in these demos are telling Kenyans to avoid their shops because their prices are super high. How does that help their businesses?

Even Nairobians who have never been to Unicity Mall are now hearing about it and should they re-open everybody is going there to find out what the fuss is all about. That is not going to work for Nyamakima and Gikomba traders.

People are not going to that mall because it is owned by a Chinese. They are going there because of the affordable prices of the goods they are selling. If these other traders cannot deal with and solve that problem, they are wasting their time and are just helping to promote the Unicity Mall business.

The best solution for Gachagua and Kuria is to issue a government statement ordering Mr. Cheng to double and triple the prices of every product he sells and Unicity Mall. That will solve the whole problem immediately.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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