NAIROBI, KENYA: Members of the Hood Group, a business consortium in Nairobi has called for the establishment of special spaces for picketing and demonstrations to ensure the rights of all Kenyans are observed equally.
They said that whether street protests were peaceful or not, the end result is subdued economic activities with businesses closing down and demand for goods and services taking a dip every day.
Speaking at a Nairobi Hotel, the group through their Chairman Mr. Nderitu Mwangi the businessmen painted a sad picture of the current political dynamics where opposition coalition NASA has called for daily demonstrations starting Monday.
“Whether the demonstrations are peaceful or not, it is very important to note that demonstrations cannot be done without interfering with businesses in the CBD, flow of traffic and movement of goods and people,” they said.
According to the members such designated places could be the stadia as well as the open space on Ngong Road near Jamhuri Park.
“The Hood Group Businessmen and professionals, just like many other affected Kenyans out there, are really disturbed by the interference of business within the CBD,” he said.
The group asked other 46 counties to make such designated picketing spaces so that businesses across the country are not negatively affected by the protests.
“No one has more right than the other and demonstrators cannot be allowed to infringe on the rights of businessmen, drivers and pedestrians,” they said in the statement.
Mr Mwangi noted that the fall in consumption of diesel for the first time in seven years is telling so far beating the economy has taken.
“Banks are not lending, there are no contracts being signed because everyone is saying – let’s wait until after the election,” he said.
He illustrated his case with the Nairobi Stock Exchange losing Sh 0 b on the day the Supreme Court annulled the Presidential election as an indicator of how businessmen are losing through this electioneering period.
Another ember Harrison Mburu sought the definition of what amounts to a riot as unopposed to a demonstration and weather what NASA is calling for is within the rights as provided for in law.
“When demonstrations degenerate into looting sprees and destruction of property, then that ceases to be lawful and that is what complicates the whole scenario,” said Mburu who was an aspirant MCA for Karen in the last general election.
The businessmen and professionals said there must be an end to the protests to allow business lest the economy collapses.