A group opposed to the ongoing weekly demonstrations called by Nasa to force reforms at the electoral agency have said linking them to the outlawed Mungiki sect is unjustified.
The group calling itself Nairobi Business Community has in recent weeks raised eyebrows over their physical appearance and utterances during press conferences, with many questioning their credentials and motive.
At some point, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) disowned the group, saying they were not members of the organisation.
But, Mr Wilfred Kamau, the group’s chairman, told the Sunday Nation they had nothing to do with Mungiki.
“Dreadlocks cannot be said to be an identity of Mungiki. That would mean that Maina Njenga and Ndura Waruingi, who were the founders, were not actually Mungiki because they did not have dreadlocks. It would also mean (gospel musician) Juliani and Ugandan musician Chameleone are Mungiki. People are being simplistic here,” he said.
He said the members have businesses in downtown Nairobi, especially around Kirinyaga and River roads, and claimed that whenever demonstrators were chased by the police “they pass near our shops on their way back to the estates and scare away our customers”.
“There is no definition of a businessman. Even the man selling groundnuts qualifies as one. Don’t think it is only big insurance owners and bank owners who are businessmen. We also have interests in this city,” said Mr Kamau, who said he owns a spare parts shop along Kirinyaga Road and he also imports other wares from Dubai.
He also downplayed the Thaai invocation at press conferences describing it as a tradition passed down generations as part of Gikuyu culture.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has of late been signing off his statements as the group’s patron, but, Mr Kamau said he was not their leader.
“We are open though and if he has what it takes to be our patron we will sit down and agree,” he said.
Another member of the group, Mr Charles Mwangi, whom some social media users have described as a police officer, said he is a resident of Kibera’s Laini Saba.
“Our businesses are not even insured. Once you steal from us, where will we get food for our children?” asked Mr Mwangi, who said he shoots videos and has a shop on River Road.