The Kenyan retail sector lost an estimated $246,000 every day during street protests against the electoral body which peaked in late May to mid June, a survey by a business group 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 losses.
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.