Kenyan traders suffer losses during anti-poll body protests
02 August 2016, 21:10
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan retail sector lost an
estimated 246,000 U.S. dollars every day during street protests against
the electoral body which peaked in late May to mid June, a survey by a
business lobby launched on Tuesday reveals.
According to the survey which covered 509 large, medium and small
scale enterprises in Nairobi, the anti-electoral body protests which
took place every Monday had a negative impact on business.
Speaking during the launch of the survey, the Chairman of the Kenya
Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Dennis Awori said that political
uncertainty posed a new threat to the economy and national cohesion.
"While it is a constitutional right for citizens to picket and
advocate for social and political reforms, there is need to maintain
peace and order to ensure business premises do not suffer looting or
destruction," Awori remarked.
The survey on the impact of protests against the Independent
Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on businesses found that 85
percent of small and medium sized traders incurred different forms of
According to the survey, traders incurred losses occasioned by looting, closure of their businesses and absenteeism of workers.
It added the negative impact of anti-IEBC protests spread across
critical sectors like retail, transport, hospitality and finance.
The business community was instrumental in facilitating dialogue
among leaders from both sides of the political divide to end street
protests against the electoral body.
Awori said industry executives, religious leaders, foreign diplomats
and civil society managed to convince leaders from the opposition and
government to initiate dialogue and end impasse over electoral reforms.
"As business leaders, we applaud the formation of a bipartisan
parliamentary caucus that is spearheading dialogue on reforming the
electoral body without engaging in violent street protests," said Awori.
The Kenyan capital, Nairobi was turned into a theater of street
protests in late May and early June when opposition leaders mobilized
their supporters to advocate for removal of election commissioners over
allegations of malpractices.
Several people died while dozens were injured in Nairobi and the Lake side city of Kisumu as police clashed with protesters.