The lopsided trade and investment ties with Beijing are gradually alarming the Kenyan policymakers and underscoring the need to review policy towards China.
The development comes in the light of Kenya's massive reliance on China for its technical equipment which is apparently undermining various security and public services in the country due to quality issues, reported Financial Post.
Recently, Kenyan Armed Forces reported substantial faults in drones procured from Chinese suppliers, causing them to crash frequently.
Apart from further inquiries on the matter, the Kenyans were reportedly demanding clarification from the supplier company, M/s CETCI of China.
Other Kenyan departments are getting jostled with similar problems. The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is facing the brunt of negligence on the part of Chinese companies undertaking public work, reported Financial Post.
NMS had awarded a contract for Water, Sewer Extensions and Street Lighting in various areas of Nairobi to China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
The civic authority is now accusing the Chinese operator of an unmanageable rise in compliance issues resulting in public inconvenience and even accidents.
It is learnt to have sought an explanation from CBRC on two accidents involving children at its project site. Reprimanding the Chinese company on violation of contract terms related to safety, security and protection of the Environment, the NMS has reportedly asked CBRC to report to the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services (DOSHS), Kenya, reported Financial Post.
Notably, the controversy is not the only one for CBRC as it recently faced backlash on social media for its corrupt practices and discrimination against Kenyans.
The company was awarded the contract for constructing Western Ring Road Project in Kenya. This China-funded expressway project is being criticized not only for its high cost but also for planning to charge arbitrarily high toll charges from the Kenyans. Earlier, the company had been 'debarred' by the World Bank in 2009 for engaging in corrupt practices in the Philippines.
Unfortunately, the problems with Chinese companies are not limited to quality and service issues. Kenyan public is increasingly resentful about the work ethics, and moral and environmental practices of the Chinese companies working in the country, reported Financial Post.
The environmentalists in Kenya have argued that the massive cutting down of trees to implement the expressway project by CBRC could damage the local climate.
Reducing reliance on other major trade partners cannot be a solution for a developing country in short or medium terms. The problem is quite apparent for Kenya given its high level of engagement with Beijing. However, an insistence on quality and regard for local norms can be good start towards this end, advised Financial Post.