NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) has condemned the looting and destruction of property at the Tumaini Supermarket in Kisumu which occurred during National Super Alliance demonstrations on Friday.
In a statement released by its Chairperson, Muchiri Wahome, the association expressed concern with increasing threats to the formal and informal retail sector saying such threats undermine the country’s economic development.
“At RETRAK we condemn such incidents that impact negatively and occasion unnecessary losses to our members and non-members,” Wahome said in a brief to newsrooms on Saturday.
He called upon political players and their supporters across the political divide to maintain law and order even as they exercise their right to peaceful assembly.
“We call upon the security machinery to consider beefing up security for the players in the retail sector during this electoral season,” Wahome wrote on behalf of RETRAK.
The statement followed a similar one by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in which Friday’s suspected arson of the Gikomba Market in Nairobi was condemned.
KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki denounced growing political rhetoric which she said is funning tensions and threatening the country’s economic well-being.
“Once again, we reiterate that our super-heated political rhetoric and hard-line positioning by politicians, accompanied by threats of chaos and implied violence, are now a serious threat to the continued economic well-being of this country and, by extension, to our hopes of lifting our people out of poverty,” she wrote.
“These incidents including the alleged arson attack at Nairobi’s Gikomba Market and looting at Kisumu’s Tumaini Supermarket remain highly regrettable,” Kariuki said.
She warned that such incidences on both large scale and small scale traders have a direct implication to the nation’s economic outlook as well as the thousands of citizens who make a living either directly or indirectly from these ventures.
Political players need to exercise due restraint and encourage their supporters to uphold respect for the rule of law, she implored.
KEPSA appealed with citizens to liaise with security services to ensure culprits of such incidences and attacks on the business community are brought to book.
“In our view, an electoral process does not amount to a law and order vacation,” KEPSA’s statement affirmed.
The two statements come at a time when President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a probe to establish the cause of the fire that destroyed Nairobi’s biggest market – Gikomba – even as he promised stern action against anyone found culpable.
“Security agencies should move with speed to investigate the cause of the fire, and those believed to be behind the criminal act should face the full force of the law,” said President Kenyatta during a Jubilee Party campaign in Maua, Meru County on Friday.
“The government will stand with the affected traders by building the market to enable them to continue with their business,” the President added while promising to assist is rebuilding the market.