- Opposition leader Raila Odinga asked its supporters to boycott all products linked to the government
- They boycott already started with the NASA leaders and supporters shifting from Safaricom to Airtel
Most decisions we make in life have economic implications. If you choose to walk to a destination, you may 'save' money that you could have used on bus fare or fuel. But you may also end up arriving at your destination thirsty or hungry and use nearly the same amount of money on a snack to replace depleted calories.
This is the predicament that
Opposition followers may find themselves in after being urged by their leaders
to boycott the products and services of companies suspected to have links with
or are owned by key supporters of Jubilee Party.
From a political point of view, the muted boycott makes a lot of political sense but the big question is; does it make economic or business sense? Five things come to mind that the Opposition leaders and their followers should take into consideration before swimming into the deep end.
First is whether the National Super Alliance (NASA) is pursuing the best option to gain an upper hand in the election stand-off. Has the Opposition leadership exhausted remedies to have their views or complaints heard? Based on several favorable court rulings this year on issues the Opposition contested, the answer could be no.
Secondly, is this what the Opposition followers want to engage in and are they prepared for the long haul? Unlike the election boycott, when NASA supporters stayed at home for one day watching premier league football, the economic boycott could end up being a protracted battle that involves extensive individual sacrifices with a biting effect on personal preferences, choices, comforts and conveniences.
Third, the national economic impact of the boycott could also boomerang on NASA supporters as some companies begin to shut down or scale down their operations. We are talking about layoffs, reduced shelf/product choices and even, in some situations, poor communication and long banking queues. Is this sustainable? This is not a boycott of goods from a neighboring country driven by national pride but a futile internal 'dissent' - a Kenyan to Kenyan boycott that entrenches our divisiveness and polarizes our country even further. Effectively, the boycott may negatively impact or jeopardize the standard of living of Opposition followers and bystanders.
Fourth, we cannot underestimate the resilience of the targeted recipient companies, which could have immense resources to sustain a long boycott. Our political leaders must move fast to ensure a quick and painless end to the political problems facing our country.