UDA leader’s economic craze is on now: Be ready

8 mins read

William Ruto has been undergoing a lot of stress that he had nothing to offer Kenyans in real economic and social development plans and people were laughing at him while the Azimio team already released their Manifesto which Kenyans are hearing about from their leaders and digesting as we speak.

So Ruto just went on a stampede yesterday releasing his plan or manifesto in pieces. First, his government will be deporting the Chinese traders in Kenya so as to help improve the economic conditions of Kenyans engaged in trade in places like Nairobi City and elsewhere.

Deputy President William Ruto will deport Chinese nationals engaging in businesses that can be done by Kenyans should he form the next government, he said Tuesday.

Speaking during the Kenya Kwanza Alliance Nairobi Economic Forum at Ngong Racecourse, Dr Ruto, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate, argued that there is no way Chinese will engage in retail business, roasting maize, kiosk business and other small businesses, yet Kenyans are struggling with unemployment.

“Let that not worry you. Those are Kenyan businesses and those engaged in such business, we have enough aeroplanes to deport them back to where they came from,” said Dr Ruto.

“We have agreements with different countries on what level of business or work is to be done by locals and which one is allowed, where one must have work permit, to foreigners. And that level is not selling in kiosks, retail or roasting maize,” he said.

Read: I am on a mission says Gachagua. Ruto worried where in reality the mission ends

The DP’s statement followed concerns raised by Mr Nelson Iruku, an electronics trader in Nyamakima, that the Chinese are taking over local businesses in Nairobi.

“Within our laws, a foreigner cannot be given work permit to engage in business that locals can do … that is under the national government and I ask that you help us because it is our traders who are hurting,” said Mr Sakaja, the UDA Nairobi gubernatorial candidate.

In May 2019, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered a review of the work permits of foreigners who had applied to conduct various businesses but ended up investing in the betting industry.

Cooperation between Kenya and China has grown in recent years, especially during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency, with Kenya’s exports to China growing to $227 million in 2021.

China is also one of the biggest lenders to Kenya and is currently engaged in several infrastructural projects such as the SGR, Nairobi Expressway, bypasses, Konza City and smart city facilities, industrial parks, among others.

During the economic forum that will culminate in the signing of the Nairobi Economic Charter, traders raised issues around waste management, water problems, harassment by county askaris, and lack of an enabling business environment, among others.

Second Ruto will nationalize the 16 acre Gikomba market in Nairobi. I don’t know how that works but I can tell you it might be much easier to nationalize the Weston Hotel William Ruto built from land allegedly grabbed from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) than to nationalize a market where there are thousands of title deeds for traders and market property owners in Nairobi or anywhere else.

If KCAA wins the case on the land which is coming up in the Court of Appeal after Ruto lost in the High Court which over ruled the NLC court, they (KCAA) takes their land back. By law, at that point the buildings can be demolished but KCAA can hand it over to the government and ask for land of equal value for their business.

That is why it is easier to nationalize that KCAA property stolen by William Ruto than just grab land from Gikomba property owners and traders and claim to nationalize it.

Do the Gikomba market use, safety, and property ownership need to be fixed? Absolutely yes but you can’t do it on a run-by mission just shooting whatever you see. You can panic as a politician but don’t panic about the traders and business people running that very crucial market for the City of Nairobi and the county.

Urban market spaces are a big deal in modern economies anywhere in the world. Western countries are crazy about their malls, grocery shops, and all that stuff.

In Kenya, we have our urban markets for everything from food, groceries, clothing, restaurants (some of the best in the world), and just urban life. Our governments and private sector investments build those places and that is a big part of what grows our economy. Kenyan urban and rural markets work in tandem. That food you are taking home from the market or the fruits you are eating there is from Kenyan farmers and it is often delicious. That is who are as a country.

Here is a changing face of Nairobi with the great market spaces in the city being modernized and made more accessible and welcoming to their customers. That is how it works. There are no quick fixes of just grabbing property and giving it to your today’s friend.

Gikomba market is one of those complex places in Nairobi city that has to be treated with equal concern as President Uhuru is doing with markets in our urban centers and specifically in Nairobi. Shoot your mouth and run can’t work here. Plan and deliver is what is needed. It has to be done.

And it was a good day to see Azimio in Isiolo and other parts of Northern Kenya where he promised Azimio government will address the needs for economic development and security in the region. This election is for all Kenyans and we need our leaders to show their commitment to the whole country.

Martha Karua was in Mwea talking about revitalizing agriculture and specifically rice production which is a bedrock of their local economy. Azimio was all over Kenya talking to the citizens about what their government will do for them. And the people feel this is real as we can see. Good for the republic.

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

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