Mombasa residents back to business after voting, leave tallying to IEBC

IEBC officer counts ballot boxes at Nita tallying centre in Mombasa on August 10, 2022. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Business resumed on Wednesday with most residents back to work after casting their votes on Tuesday amid pilling bills and a tough economy in Mombasa County.

The streets roared back to life even as tallying of votes progressed at a snail's pace. According to most residents and entrepreneurs, they have already done their civic duty and were ready to get back to work regardless of the winner.

Vendors, cyber cafes, restaurants, some banks and entertainment joints had resumed operations to maximise profits as other businesses remained closed.

Eunice Atieno, a fishmonger in Majengo, said she cannot stay at home while she has fees, rent and other bills to settle.

Ms Atieno said the economy is harsh and it requires non-stop work to keep up with the inflation. “I have three children to feed, educate and shelter. I have a business to run and loans to settle, how can I stay home waiting for winners to be announced? It has nothing to do with me after voting,” said Atieno.

James Ondiek, a cyber operator along Digo Road, said his family demands remain constant and despite the election period, money has been scarce and his children are expected back to school on Monday.

He said the Independent and Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will do its duty of tallying the votes and announcing the winners but Kenyans must go on about their business as usual.

“I can’t sit back waiting for a winner to be announced when I have loads of work and bills to settle. I have clients who want me to help them out,” said Ondiek.

Kassim Omar, a restaurant owner, said staying at home will not change the results and that he needs to keep busy and consume the anxiety.

Omar said sitting idle at home will only give room for unnecessary politicking.

“I voted for my leaders and even if I camp at the polling station, let alone stay at home, I won’t change the results. So it is better to get busy and open up business. Already, we lost the whole of Tuesday,” said Omar.

Fruit and vegetable vendors at ‘Marikiti Market’ along Digo Road also opened their stalls as customers milled in to replenish foodstuff.

In Bamburi, entertainment joints reopened their doors to revelers keenly following the tallying of votes.

Reagan Mwaniki, a pub owner in Bamburi, said customers have been trickling in since morning and closely following the counting of votes while enjoying themselves in moderation.

“We have ensured all our screens are on with different stations highlighting the tallying of votes. Revellers are keenly following from here as they enjoy their drinks. We however don’t condone any aggressive politics here and we have warned anyone who misbehaves will be shown the door,” said Mwaniki.

Likewise, twilight women at Casablanca Club and along Moi Avenue returned back to business.

At Mama Ngina Waterfront, vendors of crisped cassava and sorghum and toy dealers were ready in anticipation of customers who want to enjoy themselves.

However, some residents remained indoors to observe the political temperatures as IEBC gives results.