Kenyan lawmaker arrested over incitement against foreign workers

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-26 21:53:27|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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NAIROBI, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police on Wednesday arrested a lawmaker over inciteful remarks against foreign traders in the capital, Nairobi.

Charles Kanyi was picked up by the police outside Parliament buildings and driven off to criminal investigations department (CID) for grilling ahead of possible arraignment.

Kanyi's arrest follows remarks he made while visiting traders in Nairobi where he condemned foreign traders from running businesses in Nairobi.

He was captured in a video that has since gone viral, telling foreigners engaged in business in his constituency to shut down and vacate the country failure to which they will be forcefully evicted.

"If you assess our markets, Ugandans and Tanzanians have taken over our businesses... Now we are saying enough is enough. If a 24-hour ultimatum is not enough for them to be deported, we will remove them and we'll beat them up and we will not fear anyone," the lawmaker said.

The remarks caused a diplomatic spat with Tanzania which on Tuesday summoned Kenyan ambassador to Dar es Salaam to explain 'xenophobic' remarks made by the legislator threatening to have their traders kicked out of city markets.

Kenya's foreign ministry however reassured foreign investors in the country of their security and that of their properties.

"This aggressive and ill-tempered language goes against the letter and spirit of Kenya's welcoming ethos, as well as the progressive nature of the Constitution of our Republic," said the ministry.

"We wish to take this opportunity to reassure all foreign nationals living and working in Kenya of their personal safety and also offer a firm guarantee of the security of their investments in Kenya," the ministry added.

It said Kenya in turn expects that all her neighbors and the international community at large will continue to welcome Kenyans around the world, where their valuable contributions and entrepreneurial spirit continues to be a source of pride for all Kenyans.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna also denounced the lawmaker's remarks adding that "mitigating measures have since been instituted against them".

"We wish to state that this is not the position of the Government of the Republic of Kenya, and we denounce the comments carried in the video in the strongest terms possible," Oguna said.

"Such comments are unfortunate and have no place in today's globalized environment. Kenyans are peace-loving people who have over the years coexisted with others of different nationalities," he added.

The legislator had issued Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i with a 24-hour ultimatum to deport all foreigners carrying out businesses in Gikomba, an open air market in Nairobi.

Nairobi's Starehe Constituency, which Kanyi represents in the National Assembly, includes the expansive Gikomba market popular in Kenya for second-hand clothes and construction materials.