Nairobi Traders Block Road Protesting Chinese Retailers, March to Gachagua Office

  • Traders from Nairobi’s Dubois Street, Gikomba market and Nyamakima market took to the streets on Tuesday, February 28 to protest what they termed as the infiltration of Chinese retailers in the country. 

    The traders marched to the office of the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to demand protection for their businesses.

    In a video seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the traders were carrying pluckards while blowing trumpets and whistles as they walked from downtown Nairobi to the central business district. 

    Nyamakima Traders

    A screengrab of Nairobi Traders protesting along Harambee Avenue next to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s office.


    Seth Olale

    The protesting traders blocked Harambee Avenue just in front of the Deputy President’s office as they sought for audience with the police. 

    Videos shared online show a police vehicle at the scene of the protests just in front of Gachagua’s office. 

    The protests come just a day before the date of the planned meeting between the Deputy President and the traders aimed at addressing the rising number of foreign traders in the country, especially Chinese and Pakistani nationals.

    This is after the DP gave in to pressure and scheduled a meeting with Nyamakima traders that is slated for Wednesday, March 1. 

    According to Importers and Small Traders Association Organizing Secretary Anne Nyokabi, the meeting will address foreigners’ ‘takeover’ of local markets.

    Among the issues to be discussed in the meeting include the demands by the local traders to be allowed to control the wholesale and retail ends of the value chain. 

    “We wanted to demonstrate against the government following serious infiltration of our business space by foreigners, especially from China and Pakistan,” Nyokabi revealed in an interview on Inooro TV. 

    However, she indicated that word about the intended protests reached Gachagua who sent emissaries to the traders with the intention of a round-table meeting on March 1.

    “There are those among us who are still meeting to plan to go ahead with planned street protest marches but I urge them to first embrace this window of dialogue,” Nyokabi indicated.

    Photo collage of China Square, a shopping hub inside UniCity Mall, which is owned by Kenyatta University.

    Photo collage of China Square, a shopping hub inside UniCity Mall, which is owned by Kenyatta University.

    Kenyatta University

    The traders from various competing trade centres first took their complaints to Gachagua last week, appealing for action and threatening to stage protests.

    During the first meeting, Gachagua reiterated that he will act as the guardian angel for Mt Kenya region-based business enterprises in Nairobi.

    “President William Ruto’s government will respect businesses and will never entertain any aspect that undermines existing businesses” the Deputy President indicated. 

    Gachagua indicated that Nyamakima traders had suffered during former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime and it was time that suffering comes to a stop.

    However, some economic experts warn that this might defeat the global concept of liberalisation of trade and usher in pricing cartels.

    The developments came in the wake of controversy elicited by the coming of China Square controversy that saw the popular mall at Unicity along Thika road closed indefinitely.

    The retail outlet was indefinitely closed with the owner citing a number of reasons that they wanted to work on before reopening. 

    Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria announced government plans to push for the China Square closure only to on Sunday peddle backwards on the stand.

    A collage pf Trade CS Moses Kuria and Chinese Businessman Lei Cheng.

    A collage of Trade CS Moses Kuria and Chinese Businessman Lei Cheng.

Beryl Onyango

Beryl Onyango is a CPA and economics degree holder who has dedicated her career to helping others navigate the complex world of finance. Beryl has spent the past 3 years working as a finance specialist in a fintech company and has 6 years of experience in finance, working with a diverse range of clients and industries. Beryl's expertise lies in budgeting, saving, investing, and retirement planning, but she also has a deep understanding of various other areas of finance. She is interested in financial technology and how it changes how we manage our finances. As a finance writer, Beryl has been sharing her insights and knowledge through her writing, covering various finance and personal finance topics. Her goal is to educate and empower individuals to take control of their finances and achieve their financial goals. In addition to her professional experience, Beryl is a lifelong learner, always seeking to expand her knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in finance. She is also a strong communicator, able to explain complex financial concepts in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Beryl believes that financial literacy is the key to achieving financial success, and she is dedicated to helping others achieve their financial goals.

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