Published On: Wed, Oct 25th, 2017

Kenya businesses appeal for peace on Election Day

An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.  © 2016 REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016. © 2016 REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE Kenyan business community has reiterated calls for the upholding of the rule of law during elections set for Thursday.
In a statement, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), which spoke on behalf of more than 500 000 large companies and small and medium enterprises, expressed further support to the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC’s) on its decision to hold the election.
Carole Kariuki, the KEPSA Chief Executive Officer, said the support was predicated on the IEBC’s constitutional mandate to organize and oversee elections.
“We stand by this statement,” Kariuki said.
“We cannot be a country that makes acceptable the disregard and disobedience of court orders, no matter how inconvenient or disagreeable these may be.”
Kariuki said the Supreme Court was “very clear” in its orders that the IEBC organize an election within 60 days of September 1.
“Until the Supreme Court vacates this order, it behoves all Kenyans to obey it,” she said.
Kariuki noted Raila Odinga, the main challenger to incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, had threatened a boycott.
“We are aware of the issues raised by those who do not support the holding of this election. These Kenyans have a right to hold these views.”
She however reiterated their call to aggrieved parties to resort to the judiciary to address their grievances.
The run-up has been characterised by protests. Odinga has called on Kenyans to boycott the poll.
Kariuki raised concern at the ramifications of another disputed outcome.
The August 8 result favouring Kenyatta but annulled by the Supreme Court in September has taken its toll on the economy.
Global markets watcher, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) said financially, the potential US$117 million cost of the rerun would place additional strain on the fiscus, especially on the back of the already expensive August polls, which cost the country an estimated $480 million.
“The private sector shares Kenyans’ pain from any damage that comes from election-related chaos,” Kariuki said.
“Our SME members bear the brunt of such damage, but all Kenyans also suffer, as the economy is buffeted by the uncertainties arising both from the election itself, and from any associated chaos.”
The businesses have suffered arson and looting during protests.
Kariuki, in conclusion, urged Kenyans to be peaceful during and after the poll.
“In closing, may we wish all Kenyans, those who wish to vote and those who choose, for whatever reason, not to vote, a peaceful Election Day.”
– CAJ News

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