, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The rest of the country might have had the day off but for a few entrepreneurial Kenyans, it was a chance to make that elusive shilling.
All roads leading to Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani were lined with probably as many vendors as there were security agents.
The vendors held up miniature Kenyan flags and without waiting for the official unveiling, portraits of President Kenyatta, as they braved the early morning rain in the hope that like the early bird they too will catch the metaphorical worm.
“I got here at 5am after leaving home at four in the morning,” Charles Munene who was selling bottled water and cigarettes at the swearing-in venue told Capital FM News.
Ordinarily Munene hawks cigarettes around Kiambu, Githurai and Zimmerman but he took advantage of Kenyatta’s inauguration to come to a quick windfall, “I usually sell each cigarette at Sh5 but today I’m selling them for Sh10.”
And although Munene claimed to have the sincere motive of providing a thirsty public with water, it didn’t keep him from making more than a hundred percent profit on every 500ml of water sold, “I bought them at Sh20 and I’m selling them at Sh50. My children have to eat to their fill.”
Unlike Munene for whom the day’s business was a one-off event, Mwendwa Githinji makes his living by selling sodas from the boot of his car at any major event he can gain access into.
“Uhuru promised to create jobs for the youth and today he has. Today’s business has created employment for me and my assistant.
“An instant photo for Sh100,” Jeff shouts outside the stadium as those who came to witness Kenyatta’s inauguration make their way home.
A few cannot resist a keep sake and so step into a makeshift studio created from wooden poles supporting a banner that has a picture of Kenyatta on one side and his Deputy William Ruto on the other with the Kenyan Coat of Arms at the centre; the spot at which you stand so Jeff can take a photo of you in between the two elected leaders for posterity.
“At least you’ll be able to show your children that you were there when the first president under the current constitution took his oath of office, just like his father was the first President of the Republic of Kenya,” Jeff tells this reporter in a bid to make a sale.
Jeff isn’t much more than a child himself having just started his first year in secondary school, but it being a public holiday he decided to help out his cousin Hilary who mans the printer charged with actualising the instant photos.
It doesn’t take much convincing before I have my picture taken earning Jeff and Hilary a Sh30 profit so I can have proof that I too was there when the first president took his oath of office under the current Constitution.