Residents and small business owners in Kiambu County have lauded the decision by Azimio la Umoja One coalition party leader Raila Odinga to call off country wide political protests that have been going on for the last two weeks.
The protests, which were staged every Monday and Thursday, had seen a lot of disruption in the everyday running of small business and livelihoods of residents
Although in Kiambu town, the chaos was minimal, business owners around Kiambu town said they were affected especially when it came to the confusion on opening up their businesses and the uncertainty of getting clients.
Alexander Sila, a grocer in Kiambu town expressed his joy after yesterday’s announcement by the Azimio leader saying not only will he be able to concentrate on his business without looking out for riots within, but he will also be able to go and get supplies that he usually sources from Nairobi City County without a hitch.
“My business has for the last two weeks been affected in a major way. I do purchase my wares from Marikiti (Wakulima) Market in Nairobi where protests have been happening. I could not restock my business properly because I ended up with only what I could get from within my county”, he said.
Sila is also hoping that both the government and the Azimio leader will be able to meet and come up with a solution in order for the country to move on and businesses to go back to normalcy.
“As Kenyans we only need an agreeable solution by both parties. The opposition leader Raila Odinga was not elected by the Kenyans in any of seat therefore he has no reason for protesting while the government in turn should listen to his demands and find an amicable solution so that the country can move forward,” he said.
Maureen Wanjiku, 24, a resident in Kiambu who sells secondhand clothes in, Kirigiti area of Kiambu County expressed her gratitude to the Azimio leader Raila Odinga for calling off the demos saying she had not made any sales for the last two weeks since she gets her stocks from Gikomba Market in Nairobi.
“As a business person I am so happy for the Azimio leader calling off the protests. I have been making very few sales, which have affected my business. This is because people are afraid to get out of their houses to come and shop but at the same time I would not be able to get any new stocks because of the weekly protests and skirmishes.
She hoped that talks between the opposition and government will reach an understanding and that Kenyans will not have to experience any more demonstrations in the country.
Ann Mumbi from Kiambu market who is a distributor of commodities to various supermarkets expressed optimism that all will go on well now that the Azimio leader has called off the protests and the President has agreed to sit on a table for consultations.
“I am happy for the Azimio leader Odinga calling off the demos in the country. In Kiambu County we have not experienced the riots as compared to Nairobi but our businesses have been affected since most of the business people source their goods from Nairobi,” she said.
Mumbi added that for the past two weeks she has been worrying and contemplating on what to do next if the protests were to continue.
“I have not been making any profit in my business. As a distributor am required me to restock my business twice a week. Even wherever I normally buy my merchandise, they had closed up their business for fear of invasion by mobs. My hope is that both parties will come to an amicable solution to the stalemate,” she added.
Even as the Azimio leader accepted the olive branch extended by President William Ruto on dialogue, in his remarks he noted that if the talks do not come to a win-win situation, the protests will continue in a weeks’ time.
Among the subjects that the two parties will discuss is the high cost of living and also address the matter of reconstituting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
By Wangari Ndirangu