- Deputy President William Ruto noted that part of the solution to the current rate of unemployment is reserving small-scale enterprises to Kenyans
- According to him, the local small-scale retail trade has been inundated by Chinese nationals whom he said he would deport to their countries in the event he wins in the August polls
- The deputy president further clarified that there exists an agreement between Kenya and its international partners over the kinds of trades and occupations foreigners can engage in
Deputy President William Ruto has promised to fly out of the country to the Chinese traders who have infiltrated the retail market in the country.
That will be actualised if he wins the presidency in the August 9 General Election, he said during the Nairobi Economic Forum organised by the Kenya Kwanza Coalition on Tuesday.
The deputy president, who is seeking to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, observed that the foreigners had occupied all the basic businesses at the expense of Kenyans who continue to grapple with the high rate of unemployment.
Chinese in the local retail market
Among the areas Ruto expressed concern about included roasting maize and kiosk business among other small-scale enterprises.
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He said that there exists an agreement between Kenya and its foreign partners regarding the occupations or businesses the foreigners can be okayed to engage in.
“Let that not worry you. Those are Kenyan businesses and for those engaged in such business, we have enough aeroplanes to deport them back to where they came from.
“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,” said Ruto.
The sentiments tend to embroil Kenya in a diplomatic clash with Beijing as was the case with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Ruto’s statement irks DRC
In February this year, Ruto asserted that the DRC does not have a single cow which in turn irked the country’s politicians.
The second in command made the sensational claim in Nyeri county while presiding over the first of 47 Bottom-Up Economic Model conversation sessions.
Ruto explained his economic model to the county residents promising to bring back the agricultural sector to its feet if elected president.
Further, he pledged to open international markets for local produce and shared his plans to capitalise on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to tap into the continental marketplace.
No cows in Congo
In the spirit of capitalising on AfCFTA, Ruto told Nyeri residents that Kenya could double milk production and export to DRC, where he said there is a ready market.
The DP sensationally claimed the country, with a population of 90 million does not have a single cow, forcing it to import its milk from Australia and New Zealand.
“Countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has a population of 90 million doesn’t have a singe cow, they buy their milk from Australia and New Zealand yet that is our market. We can double our milk production and sell it to them,” said Ruto while speaking in Swahili.
Ruto’s claim about DRC having no cows did not sound well to the country’s Senator Francine Muyumba.
Taking to Twitter, the irked Muyumba said the DP’s remarks were unacceptable, imploring him to retract them.
She insisted that Kenya and DRC have good diplomatic ties as companies like Equity Bank and Kenya Airways also operate in the Central African country.
“If DRC did not have a single cow how could Kenya sign economic deals with DRC?. Equity Bank is currently making money in Congo, this is an insult. We are friends with Kenya.
A candidate running for the highest office of the country, William Ruto, need to be diplomatically conscience as Kenya need to strengthen economic ties in the region for Kenya’s internal Economic growth. Kenya Airway is now flying in some of our big cities,” said Muyumba.
The deputy president later released a statement clarifying his sentiments, suggesting that he was taken out of context.
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