Thursday, June 20, 2024

Kenya: Businesses Re-Opening As Fear of Protests Fizzle Out in Nairobi, Other Towns

Nairobi — Business is slowly coming back to normal in Kenya’s capital Nairobi which remained largely deserted Wednesday for fear of protests called by Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

On Thursday, several shops were open as early as 8am and public transport was active, signaling the resumption of business.

“I came to confirm if there is a problem in town and I have seen everything is ok, I have no reason why I should close my business,” said Kevin Mwangi, who sells refurbished computers on Moi Avenue.

Across the road, Mercy Okello and Vivianne Wanja were busy cleaning their beauty shop ready to welcome customers.

“We need to pay rent for this business and staying at home for more days means we will have no income,” Mercy said and appealed to organizers of the demonstrations to call them off.

Unline Wednesday, there was public transport on most routes in Nairobi on Thursday including those plying upcountry routes.

Banks and Forex outlets that remained closed Wednesday were open Thursday as was hotels and restaurants.

A spot check by Capital News confirmed that there was adequate police patrols on most streets.

The businesses also re-opened in Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, Migori, Homa Bay and other towns despite Odinga calling for more protests Thursday against the high cost of living.

Wednesday’s protests were characterised by ugly scenes, including looting of supermarkets, particularly in Kisumu where at least three supermarkets were affected.

At least three people were shot dead as police battled protesters in the anti-government demonstrations called by Odinga.

An official at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital in Kisumu confirmed that two bodies were in the hospital’s mortuary while locals said the third was taken to a private hospital.

“Two bodies have been recorded at the morgue with gunshot wounds,” the CEO of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital, Dr George Rae said.

14 other people-all men-were admitted to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

There were also reports of a death in Mathare.

According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, more than 300 people were arrested during the demonstrations in various towns and are set to face charges.

“More than 300 people have been arrested across the country and will be charged with various crimes, including looting, malicious damage of property, arson, robbery with violence, assaulting law enforcers among other crimes,” Kindiki said in a statement but did not comment on casualties.

In a joint statement, Kindiki and his Education counterpart Ezekiel Machogu ordered the re-opening of schools which remained closed Wednesday over the riots.