Business slowly picks up in Nairobi town centre

Deserted street in Nairobi on August 9, 2022. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Business activities have started to pick up in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) after a lull sparked by anxiety following Tuesday’s close presidential election

Before, the CBD has remained a ghost town after people left to cast their ballots and then stayed at home awaiting results of the contest that pitted main rivals, Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto and Azimio candidate Raila Odinga.

Streets remained empty and many shops closed for the past two days until Friday when there were signs of business.

“I wanted to resume work once the next president is known, unfortunately, that has not happened. For the two days I remained indoors, my food stock depleted and that’s why I have decided to report to work,” said Calvin Aketch, a shoe shiner along Moi Avenue.

Across the usually busy River Road, many shops recorded low or no sales. “Since morning I have not sold a single item. I had opened today hoping to make some money but there are no customers,” said David Mwangi, an electronics dealer.

The slow pace of business activities was also reported at Machakos Bus Station, Muthurwa Market and Hakati Bus Terminus.

Joseph Irungu, a mechanic at Machakos Bus Station, said the number of people travelling upcountry had significant gone down. Many empty buses remained parked with loaders, conductors and drivers having nothing to do.

“Were there demand for transport, perhaps I could not be repairing this bus, it could be on transit by this time,” said Irungu.

Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Dickson Mbugua complained business was low and appealed to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to expedite the process of verifying the presidential results.

 “Business is down, drivers are managing only two trips to town. As much as we want IEBC to be thorough, we hope the commissions is aware that people need to go back to work,” said Mbugua.

At Muthurwa Market, traders were worried that they might run out of stock amid low sales.

“Most of the farm produce is sourced from upcountry. We are now running short of supplies and the sooner the results are announced, the better for us and our customers,” said Nelson Githaiga, chairman, Nairobi Business Hawkers Association.

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