Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna and Starehe MP Jaguar.

The Kenyan government has distanced itself from comments by an MP who said that foreign business people who work in his constituency in the capital, Nairobi, should close their businesses and leave the country.

In a clip that has been widely shared on social media, Charles Njagua Kanyi, elected for the governing Jubilee party, talked about people from Tanzania, Uganda and China.

“When you look at our market, Tanzanians and Ugandans have taken our business, enough is enough, if we will give them 24 hours and they will not leave, we will beat them and we are not scared of anyone,” he can be seen saying as people around him cheer in agreement.

He then repeats the phrase “enough is enough” as people applaud.

His constituency includes the large Gikomba market where some Kenyan traders have been complaining about alleged illegal competition from Chinese traders.

Earlier this month, the government deported 6 Chinese nationals who had been found to be working without the correct paperwork.

“We are not talking about the 6 Chinese, we are talking about hundreds of people who come to work here,” Mr Kanyi said.

In a statement, the government said it condemned the comments “in the strongest terms”.

“Kenyans are peace loving people who have over the years co-existed with others of different nationalities. This is a value that we cherish as a nation and wish to uphold,” the government added.

The government also stressed that all foreigners who wanted to invest in the country would be safe.

Many ordinary people have also been commenting.

The MP “is openly instigating xenophobia… He needs to travel around to see how many Kenyans are doing business across the region and the globe,” a Ugandan citizen is quoted as saying in responses shared on WhatsApp.

-BBC