It started with illegal entry into the country, so many were discovered to be undocumented. It then got to illegal goods being discovered at warehouses and even homes. Local traders were up in arms for how the Chinese had flooded the market with cheap fake goods. Then it went a notch higher, they were now physically beating up the locals on the work sites for who knows what.
When former president, H.E Mwai Kibaki engaged the Chinese for the roads projects in the country, I do not recall scandalous events as those we’ve been treated to lately. There was what one would term as, business mutual respect, get this done, we agree on payment, you go.
Then suddenly, the Chinese started offering more. Not just for Kenya but Africa as a whole (2012-2017). Other international partners warned of China’s “generosity” towards Africa. Our leaders guided by God knows what ignored this with reckless abandon. It was easy quick money. A story is told of how Esau sold his birth rite to Jacob over a plate of food as he had just come from the fields and was hungry. Africa’s quest for easy money is certainly not from a good place, it is also ill-informed and China happened to offer a quench for it. World Bank warned against it, IMF and others did but we were too thirsty and the Chinese deal was too juicy to pass on.
China started to infiltrate the African market sphere, Kenya was not left behind. They were an elixir every African Nation yearned for. Easy loans and quick projects. They were making headlines. What we were not told until later is the cost of those loans and what assets we’d put up as collateral. Yes, we’d sold our souls to the devil. Our own port, a gateway into East Africa. That is one too high a price for loan whose use am sure not so many Kenyans nor the government can account for, months down the line. When the deal is too good, think twice, we certainly did not think twice.
Now came the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese are now evicting African nationals out of their homes saying they are spreading the virus they themselves made. (See featured image) The Kenyan embassy has been reported to be silent and unreachable on this matter, we shall remember.
The whole situation only reveals the truth of the China-Kenya (Africa) relation. It is uneven and one whose foundation is loans and imperialism. This is no good ground for any partnership. It was bound to collapse or be exploited badly at some point and now it has. The way the Chinese have shown to disregard Africans over time is diabolical to say the least. Who has presidents line up and greet you as approval for a loan? Their main mission of global domination is unfolding well with nearly half the world indebted to them. This somehow has seemingly gotten into their heads and thus the cruelty in dealing with Africans. I have not seen the Chinese mistreat Americans who owe them as well.
If this is not a wake-up call to African leaders to re-consider the ties with China, I don’t know what will. Am not saying we end all ties, but mutual respect must be maintained, after all it’s a loan we owe them it’s not a donation. We will pay up, but HESHIMA IDUMU!