Nairobi: Kenyan traders are staging protests against Chinese businesses in the country, raising slogans that "Chinese must go!"

The demonstration comes in the wake of controversy elicited by the coming of China Square retail outlet of general merchandise whose prices are on average 45 per cent lower than those prevailing in locally owned enterprises, reported

Dressed in dust coats used in their retail outlets, over 1000 traders early this month marched to the office of the deputy president and to parliament to submit a petition against the Chinese retailers.

"The Chinese cannot be importers, retailers, wholesalers, and hawkers," read one placard held aloft during the protest. Some chanted "Chinese must go!" reported

Kenyan traders from downtown centres have said that the Chinese traders have driven them out of business and claimed that they were selling goods at affordable low rates.

Speaking to The Standard, Peris, an electronics dealer at Nyamakima said, "I'm here to protest against the Chinese traders' invasion of the Kenyan market. The foreigners are playing the manufacturer and seller's role at the same time, which shouldn't be the case. In Kenya, they are the distributors and retailers. They've locked us out of business."

Trade Minister Moses Kuria has offered to take over China Square's lease from its Chinese owner and hand it to local traders, but Korir Sing'oei, the principal secretary at Kenya's ministry of foreign affairs, stressed on Twitter that all investors are welcome, irrespective of their nationality.

Wu Peng, the top African official at China's ministry of foreign affairs welcomed Sing'oei's assurance on Twitter.