Traders upbeat despite delayed poll outcome

March 7, 2013
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"Instead of being home we'd rather be working as we wait for the final results," DHL agent Lucy Savanna says. "Majority of the people who I've been talking to... who I see every other day as my customers, prefer peace."/MIKE KARIUKI
“Instead of being home we’d rather be working as we wait for the final results,” DHL agent Lucy Savanna says. “Majority of the people who I’ve been talking to… who I see every other day as my customers, prefer peace.”/MIKE KARIUKI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – On a good day, Evans Karuba shines 40 pairs of shoes in Nairobi’s Central Business District. When he closed shop on Wednesday he’d shined 15 but he says that wasn’t too bad given it was just two days after the General Election.

At that rate, he says, business will be back to normal by Monday and Samuel Ng’ang’a, a taxi driver agrees, “Once the results are released, business will be back to normal.”

Thirty year-old Rose Nekesa wasn’t willing to wait until Monday to open her kiosk either: “I was like life has to go on. I have to work. For the economy to move, we have to work.”

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Issack Hassan assured Kenyans that the final presidential results will be out by Friday and the entrepreneurs say their doors will remain open as they are confident the results will be received peacefully.

“Instead of being home we’d rather be working as we wait for the final results,” DHL agent Lucy Savanna says. “Majority of the people who I’ve been talking to… who I see every other day as my customers, prefer peace.”

Hamdi Hussein sells digital cameras and mobile phones and has had her doors open since Tuesday, the day after the General Election, “As is to be expected, business is a bit slow but it’s not too bad.”

Hamdi is hopeful the peace the country has been experiencing will continue even after the IEBC announces the winner of the presidential race, “I pray it will be peaceful.”

Newspaper vendor Shadrack Musau usually sells 60 dailies by noon on a weekday. He hadn’t hit that target on Thursday but isn’t too worried given the way the presidential contenders have carried themselves.

“I don’t expect there’ll be any violence. Uhuru and Raila have conducted themselves well.”

The traders have heeded the clarion call given by various organisations to return to work but are perhaps more motivated by their need to earn a living.

“Many Kenyans rely on daily wages and the endless waiting will prove costly, NCIC urges all to go back to work and allow the systems in place to work for us to ensure that our rights and votes are protected,” the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said in a statement on Thursday.

The private sector has been calling for Kenyans to return to work since Wednesday with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance Chairman Patrick Obath saying waiting for the final presidential results to be released will be costly.

“Seven days is what has been given by the constitution to IEBC to release the results. But for us the cost is when people stay away from work and that is why we say this can be costly to Kenyans. What we are doing is urging people to go back to their work.”

“Let us all join fellow Kenyans who are already back to work. The business of baking the national cake must continue for the benefit of all Kenyans.”

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