East Africa private sector keeps close eye on Kenya elections
Saturday July 30 2022
The East African private sector is asking Kenya to conduct peaceful elections on August 9 to ensure the movement of goods on the Northern Corridor.
“Our expectation is a smooth transition and fairness in the electoral process with no disruption to economic activities and avoid a repeat of what happened in 2007,” said John Kalisa, CEO of the East African Business Council.
Kenya has been hard-pressed to assure its neighbours of safety of their goods and security on the northern route that links Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and DR Congo to Mombasa port, with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, last week assuring the region of maximum security during the election period.
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“We are well prepared for the elections,” he said, “and there is no evidence to warrant alarm. This is the government’s assurance to our development partners.”
“The government has put in place infrastructure that will see the movement of goods from the port of Mombasa up to Kisumu port for onward transmission to Uganda and the DRC,” said Dr Kevit Desai, EAC Principal Secretary in Kisumu on Thursday.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) says that whenever there is an election, business tends to slow down but the country remains resilient and will carry out a peaceful election and transition.
“Historically, there has been slowdown in business in election years, and this year is no different,” said KAM chief executive Tobias Alando. “We have witnessed a wait-and-see stance by investors, local and foreign, before embarking on new projects or expanding existing ones. This impacts job and wealth creation and, ultimately, the performance of the sectors.”
In Kenya, businesses and citizens are struggling under the weight of additional punitive taxes by the governments, which were enacted through the new Finance Acts. But KAM says any nation’s development is reliant on elected leaders, so elections are a fundamental part of a country’s prosperity.
“We need to see polls not as a stand-alone event that paralyses our lives but as part and parcel of our daily decision-making,” said Mr Alando.