By MARGARET NJUGUNAH, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – A Nairobi-based business group has called on the national government and the Nairobi County government to allocate a special place where political demonstrations and picketing can be held.
Chairman of The Hood Group, Nderitu Mwangi, says regardless of the right to hold demonstrations, businesses in the city also have a right to operate without interruption.
“Nairobi is the economic heartbeat of this nation. It should be safeguarded from unnecessary business interruptions. No one has more right than the other and demonstrators cannot be allowed to infringe on the rights of the business people, drivers and pedestrians,” Nderitu said.
The Group, which consists of over 100 business owners operating in various sectors, also asked the Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi and the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to ensure that the rights of all Kenyans are protected.
“Nairobi is far too important for the business community not to be taken through unnecessary political shenanigans going on now for 3 days a week,” he added.
The Group’s sentiments follow yesterday’s demonstrations by opposition supporters which witnessed the looting of shops, vandalism and vehicles destroyed.
Businessmen Harrison Mburu and Gerald Ng’ayu described how they have suffered losses since the Supreme Court order for a fresh Presidential election.
Mburu, the technical Director at Calton International Limited, which is in the construction industry, says he has had to lay off over 50 people.
“I have lost over Sh100 million this year due to these elections. Money is held up because everyone keeps saying they are waiting until after the elections to release monies,” Mburu said.
Businesses are not the only ones to lose out due to the elections. On September 1, following the Chief Justice Maraga ruling, the Nairobi Securities exchange lost Sh10 billion in less than an hour.
“We, however, expect the country to move on as soon as the elections are behind us,” Nderitu said.