Tanzania has summoned Kenyan High Commissioner to Dar es Salaam Dan Kazungu to explain 'xenophobic' remarks made by Kenyan MP Charles Njagua threatening to have their traders kicked out of city markets.
In a clip that has been widely shared on social media, Starehe MP Charles Njagua Kanyi alias Jaguar talked about people from Tanzania, Uganda and China, accusing them of dominating Nairobi markets.
Nairobi's Starehe Constituency, which Mr Njagua represents in the National Assembly, includes the expansive Gikomba market popular in Kenya for second-hand clothes and construction materials.
His utterances come hot on the heels of deportation of Chinese nationals who were found selling second-hand clothes in Nairobi’s Gikomba market.
“We are not talking about six Chinese nationals. We are talking of hundreds of foreigners who work here (Kenya). I give the government 24 hours to evict these foreigners lest I, being a representative of this area, go into their shops, beat them and send them all the way to the airport,” he said.
Following the comments, Tanzania’s Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai ordered his government to issue a statement on the safety of Tanzanians in Kenya.
Speaker Ndugai issued the order after Rufiji MP Mohammed Mchengerwa sought his guidance on the need for the Tanzania government to protect its nationals who operate businesses in Kenya.
Speaking during the evening session, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the government took the remarks seriously and has summoned Kenya’s envoy to explain.
“We summoned the Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania. We also spoke to our High Commissioner in Kenya. The Kenyan diplomat said it was a personal utterance that had nothing to do with the official position of the Kenyan government. He promised that his country would summon the lawmaker to explain what he actually meant by the statement,” said Mr Majaliwa.
In response, the Kenyan government distanced itself from Mr Njagua’s comments and assured safety to foreigners who wish to invest in the country.
"Kenyans are [a] peace loving people who have over the years coexisted with others of different nationalities. This is a value that we cherish as a nation and wish to uphold," said the statement.