I recently decided to take a walk on Moi Avenue Nairobi and I ended up visiting some of the stalls . You can see and smell fake stuff from clothes to plastic shoes that emit that acrid smell when the sun is hot.
In the past 70s to 90s we could buy a decent Made In Kenya shirt on Moi Avenue from a Patel or a Kantilal shop . Tanznaias founding father Mwalimu Nyerere once told his people ” Ukitaka London , Jirani Nairobi ni London Ndogo”. ” If you want to experience London simply go next door to Nairobi ” Sadly not anymore.
You could even buy yourself a good leather shoe I recall special brand called Tiger. It was leather company employing many local guys and of course our own Limuru Bata or even African Boots on Kenyatta Avenue all local stuff. Tiger shoes was even available in a small town like Embu where I went to school
What we have now done is to open our doors wide open in fact there is NO door . The amount of cheap and I mean cheap useless stuff that does not last even 2 weeks will shock you from toys to shoes to cloths and now even food.
Those same useless plastic stuff is what is chocking our environment. We have seen accolades being given to Eastleigh which in my opinion is the HQ of most of these fake rubbish . The so called door to door delivery from China and Dubai is the source of most illicit and fake useless stuff . Go to any rubbish pit and see the amount of toys and plastic shoes. They can still do business but bring good quality stuff even if it’s not the designer labels. China has top end , first copy all the way to most useless .
Two days ago I was in Old Town Mombasa same plastic Chinese rubbish stuff.
Folks take time off from the serious malls that are also guilty trying to make a killing. So called malls that would choose to unpack a pair of five socks or under garments and try to sell them per piece ostensibly trying to make more money, talk of greed reloaded. Then they wonder why no one is buying , their target market are not that market ignorant and they travel so they know .
Go to these many stalls and see what is being sold to majority of Kenyans which all add up to the unfavourable balance of trade with China.
Simply put Kenya is one BIG dumping ground for fakes. Well we can that claim Oh we have Kenyans earning a living but at what cost ?
It’s just not former decent shops on Moi Avenue the mess is everywhere Muindu Mbingu street or even in Westlands is nothing but one stall after the other . Chinese and more cheap fake Chinese stuff.
Go to industrial area where manufacturing used to happen is now nothing but warehouses for more and more Chinese cheap stuff from Generators to Furniture to houseware the list is endless . Don’t even get me started on edibles from powerdered milk to Fish to Garlic .
What we fail to realise is the damage these cheap plastic imports is doing to our environment.
Kenya is one BIG hawking nation. Just look at all the fake stuff guys will try to sell to you when you are stuck in traffic from a phone charger that hardly lasts 24 hours if you are lucky to make it work that is . Power banks that only go to damage you expensive phone not to mention the danger . It is only a peculiar Kenyan who will buy a genuine phone but choose to hunt for a fake dangerous power bank
As we address ourselves on how to improve manufacturing can we first fix back the door to Kenya. Fake stuff just streaming in helping the Chinese economy. KBS, KRA in one long slumber.
The irony is that the same China will make a genuine Reebok or Nike sneakers but choose to send rubbish here while our inspectors are least bothered .
If anything please give me Mitumba from Europe that will last for long to spare our rubbish pits from these Chinese disposables . The cost of going cheap will come back to haunt us decades down the line when our waterways are all poisoned. It is not too late to take action but time is not on our side.