Dodoma. Tanzania has appealed for public calm following an uproar over xenophobic remarks attributed to Kenyan lawmaker who threatened foreigners who live in his country, including Tanzanians.
A video clip shows Starehe Constituency MP, Mr Charles Kanyi who is popularly known as Jaguar threatening to forcefully eject foreigners he accused of "taking up businesses meant for Kenyans."
The video which went viral on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, saw the politician and singer promoting xenophobic attacks against foreigners working and doing business in Nairobi.
“…Kenyans must conduct their businesses without competing with people from other countries. Pakistanis are dominating the sale of vehicles in Nairobi….Tanzanians and Ugandans are dominating in our markets. We say enough is enough. If they are not sent home within 24 hours, we will pick and beat them and we do not fear anybody,” he says.
But that did not go down well in the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, with Mr Mohammed Mchengerwa (Rufiji-CCM), asking the Speaker’s guidance over the need for the government to issue a statement on the safety of Tanzanians who live, work and do business in Kenya.
The Speaker ordered the government to issue a statement on the subject.
Speaking during the evening session, Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, said the government took the remarks seriously and summoned the Kenyan envoy to explain.
“We summoned the Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania. We also spoke to our High Commissioner in Kenya. The Kenyan diplomat said it was a personal utterance that had nothing to do with the official position of the Kenyan government. He promised that his country would summon the lawmaker to explain what he actually meant by the statement,” said Mr Majaliwa.
Calling upon Tanzanians to remain calm as requested by the Kenyan diplomat, Mr Majaliwa said the statement was also criticized by members of the East African Legislative Assembly who were currently meeting in Arusha.
“As Tanzanians, let’s keep living in harmony with all Kenyans wherever they are. We have no problem with Kenya,” he said.
He called upon Kenyans, Tanzanians, Ugandans, Rwandese, Burundians and South Sudanese to resist the allure of making utterances that go contrary to the spirit of East African integration.
Earlier, MPs expressed unified views against the Kenyan lawmakers as they waited for the government’s official position even as at one point, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Job Ndugai, said Jaguar’s utterance could never be the official position of the Kenyan government.
“We should not take this rightly. If there is a country in Sub Saharan Africa whose citizens are found in large numbers in almost each and every country within the region and beyond, then that country is Kenya,” said the leader of opposition in parliament, Mr Freeman Mbowe.
Almost every MP who debated the topic criticized Jaguar, saying his utterance was unfortunate and that the Kenyan government needed to issue a statement distancing itself from him.