As the anti-government demonstrations in Nairobi entered the second week, anxiety, heavy police presence and slow business marked the day.
Businesses in the Central Business District (CBD) continued to count losses as their shops remained closed during the Azimio mass protests on Monday, March 27.
A spot check by The Standard on the city routes and the city centre painted a different picture compared to last Monday’s protests.
From Moi Avenue towards the Central Business District, Anti-riot police are stationed with the majority standing outside Hilton Hotel dubbed the ‘jobless corner’, where job seekers usually rest.
"They were here as early as 6am. It is very different from last week when the officers arrived much later," a security guard along Mama Ngina Street told The Standard.
"We hope there will be no disruption because our businesses will be affected," Andrew Kibe, a trader along Kimathi Street, said.
Some supermarkets within the centre were open for early morning customers among them those along Ronald Ngala Street.
Uptown, the cops were seen patrolling in groups of two armed with teargas at their waistbands and clubs in hands ready for the day.
On city routes, some matatus were spotted parked at petrol stations while a few operated as usual.
In Eastlands, city residents who rely on Commuter trains were notified that normal services would not be available.
Around Wakulima and Muthurwa markets, it was business as usual as traders offloaded goods from parked trucks.
At mid-morning, many shops along main streets like Kenyatta Avenue, Tom Mboya, Moi Avenue, City Hall Way were still closed.
Just a handful of shops were opened but with a lot of with caution. Some traders only opened doors halfway.
Others counting losses were businesspeople dealing in transport, retail shops, hotels, fruits and vegetables at the famous Marikiti market.
‘On a normal day, this lorry of oranges would be empty but see it’s not yet even halfway done. There are no more customers since many have stayed home and not opened their businesses,’’ said Naomi Njeri, a trader at Marikiti who imports her oranges from Tanzania
‘‘Today business has been disrupted and Thursdays might be the same. I might be forced to stop ordering oranges from Tanzania since I might incur more losses,’’ she added.
Njeri called upon President William Ruto and Odinga to sit down and talk, for a conducive business environment.
At the same market along Haile Selassie Avenue, handcart pushers who rely on carrying luggage from traders were also counting losses. Many of the two-wheeler apparatus were packed along the avenue as owners stayed away.
‘‘These roads entering Marikiti market are always busy. Monday last week was bad and today also and we are the ones losing,’’ said Timothy Mwangi, chairman of the Handcart Pushers Association.
Mwangi said they recognise the government they elected and that what they want is peace.
At the Kencom, Ambassador Hotel and Accra Road bus stops, which are always a beehive of activity, there was less human traffic. Many Kenya Bus Services (KBS) were parked behind Kencom area for lack of business.
According to Naivas Supermarkets Chief Commercial Officer Willy Kimani, business was very low on Monday.
"Business is generally low, we had to shut down three of our branches in Kisumu and in Nairobi we were on and off. We have been forced to close the city branches early today from 5pm to 6pm in the CBD to let workers go home early. We have also stopped the 24-hour, seven-days-a-week branches," said Kimani, who said he can't quantify the number of losses suffered in terms of sales income.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the country lost Sh2 billion due to last Monday’s protests
Opposition leader Raila Odinga had announced that mass protests will be held every Monday and Thursday.