A Chinese restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya was shut down after it was accused of denying service to Africans. The shutdown follows online protests against the restaurant's allegedly racist practice of denying service to Africans after 5 p.m., according to media reports.
Daily Nation, a local newspaper, reported that after 5 p.m., the Chongquing Chinese Restaurant was allowing entry to only those Africans who were accompanied by Chinese, European or Indian patrons.
However, Kenyan officials said that the restaurant was ordered to shut down because it did not have the necessary permits. Nairobi’s Governor Evans Kidero said that the place was closed as it did not have a valid liquor license and did not follow basic public health requirements while handling food, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
“We have established that the restaurant did not have the licences and I have ordered it closed until the management complies," Kidero said, in a statement, according to AFP, adding: "The owners of the restaurant have no change of user from residential to commercial which is a requirement to operate a business in Nairobi.
"As of now the restaurant will remain closed until they comply with all set rules and regulations. We have deployed security officers around the premises.” The owner of the restaurant was also arrested later for operating without a license, according to media reports.
The report by Daily Nation, published Monday, had alleged that the restaurant was allowing only “loyal” and worthy Africans, who could spend over 20,000 Kenyan shillings ($217) into the premises.
The country’s National Assembly is also set to launch an investigation into the allegations of racism against the restaurant. Justin Muturi, the speaker of the assembly reportedly said that the country needs to address the matter as soon as possible.
“All business and service providers must ensure that all customers and clients are treated with respect and dignity; irrespective or race, colour, sex, tribe and religion,” Kidero said, according to the Standard.
A manager of the restaurant reportedly claimed that the decision of not allowing Africans inside was made after the place was robbed by a group that had posed as customers.
“We don’t admit Africans that we don’t know because you never know who is Al-Shabaab and who isn’t,” Esther Zhao, the relations manager at the restaurant, had said, according to the Daily Nation, adding: “It is not like it is written on somebody’s face that they are a thug armed with a gun.”