Ex-Governor William Kabogo criticizes China Square closure, Kuria responds

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has criticized the closure of China Square, a popular market for Chinese goods in Nairobi, saying it has no benefit to consumers as he compares commodity prices with local retailers who are relatively expensive.

In a tweet on Monday, Kabogo said that Kenya is a capitalist economy and cannot afford to shut down China Square under the pretext of protecting local retailers.

“Who should we protect more? I purchased a cabro brush at China Sqaurefor KES 400 which at Gikomba is KES 950. Who’s fooling who?” he wrote.

Kabogo’s tweet elicited a sharp response from Moses Kuria, the Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry, who accused him of being insensitive to the plight of local traders and their families.

“At least you had a car (Or Chopper) to drive to China Square, the heaven for elite shoppers who don’t care about the children of traders who have no school fees,” Mr. Kuria tweeted back.

Kuria has had to defend his stance on China Square operations on several occasions since he called for Kenyatta University to buy its lease and hand it over to local SMEs.

Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi reacted to the China Square debacle by saying that policies should not have a “racist” undertone and that the assault on Lei Cheng was wrong. In response, Moses Kuria reiterated that Kenya is open for business, but added that it is not open for dumping.

Due to mounting pressure, China Square was forced to close indefinitely on Sunday in order to reorganize its structure, which included adding more security and tills to serve customers better.

China Square is one of the largest markets for Chinese goods in Kenya, offering various products such as electronics, clothes, shoes, household items and hardware at affordable prices.

The mega-store has been attracting thousands of customers every day.


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