Ten MPs want Chinese nationals working as hawkers, drivers or casuals kicked out of the country for taking jobs that can be done by Kenyans.
The MPs, drawn from Nairobi and Central Kenya, demanded that all trading licences issued to foreigners for any work that can be done by locals be annulled with immediate effect.
Led by Kiharu lawmaker Dindi Nyoro they asked Interior secretary Fred Matiang’i to crack down on undocumented immigrants, saying there was an influx of Chinese who were hawking or own retail business in the country.
“While we applaud Dr Matiang’i for the recent crackdown on illegal immigrants, we want him to revisit the exercise since it seems it did not sieve all the foreigners because Chinese are all over hawking.
“We had a Chinese calling our President a monkey the other day. We have been insulted and we can’t allow this to continue,” Laikipia Women Representative Catherine Waruguru said.
Mr Nyoro said so extensive was the jobs takeover that Chinese nationals now own retail stalls in Nairobi’s Gikomba market.
“We see Chinese roasting maize in Nairobi. They own stalls in Gikomba Market. Why should they come and hawk when we have jobless youth?
“As youthful MPs, we will not allow this to happen to our young people and we want the government agency concerned with the influx of Chinese traders to tell us if they are unable to evict those foreigners doing jobs that can be done by locals. We must guard the jobs for our people,” Mr Nyoro said.
The MPs accused Trade principal secretary Chris Kiptoo of being aloof and demanded to know when he last visited Gikomba or Githurai markets where several retail shops have been taken over by foreigners. “We want him to tell us who gave them those work permits?”
Benjamin Mwangi (Embakasi Central) asked his colleagues to ensure that all Chinese national working in their constituencies are expatriates.
“In Kiambu, there are contractors building railway and roads, but they eat food cooked by Chinese including tea. Are our mothers not able to cook food and tea for them?” Gathoni Wamuchomba said.
Maragua MP Mary Wamaua warned that the jobs takeover by foreigners may lead to crime increase.