, NAIROBI, Kenya, December 26 – Kenyans have described this year’s Christmas season as the worst ever due to the increased costs involved.
A cross section of those interviewed by Capital News said they had to cut down on unnecessary expenses this season due to the high rate of inflation which has pushed up prices of almost all essential commodities.
Others said they were not even able to travel upcountry or to other holiday destinations because they are saving for January.
“When I though about transport and other related costs, I made up my mind. I have a lot to do with my money in January,” Christine Mutahi, a second hand clothes dealer in Gikomba said.
Bethwel Rotich, a security guard at a city building said “I was working yesterday, there was no Christmas for me because fare to my rural home has tripled.”
Those interviewed are however, optimistic that things will change for the better in the near future.
Although most businesses recorded low sales, some traders said they still made profits from the few customers shopping for Christmas, including holiday makers in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park.
“This year, many people decided that rather than spend their money they have on fare which has tripled on most routes, they should just spend it in the city.
That is what they did and brought their families in Uhuru Park,” said Nancy Moraa a trader who reckoned to have made high sales at the famous Park.
“If you compare to previous years, many people had gone upcountry but this year, they had no money and that is why you can see them around,” a boda boda operator Elvis Otieno said.
Traders however, said the season would have been much better were it not for the high fuel costs.
Meanwhile, hundreds of city residents traveling upcountry and other holiday destinations were still stranded at the Machakos bus stop in Nairobi after they fell prey to conmen.
Men posing as conductors for non-existent busses collected money from them and gave them fake receipts, claiming the vehicles were on the way.
“I paid Sh 2300 for a trip to Kisumu and I was told a bus will be here in an hours time, I have not seen it since morning and when I went to inquire at the booking office of another bus company I was told the name of the bus I was talking about does not exist.
I don’t know what to do because even the police have told us all they can do is take statements from us,” a traveler Mercy Okello said.
Another traveler Moses Omusula told Capital News he had incurred losses amounting to Sh 5100 for his wife and daughter traveling to Kakamega.
“We were going home to celebrate Christmas but because we have been conned, that is the end of the Christmas we are now going back home to continue with our normal life,” Omusula who lives in Umoja estate in Nairobi said.
Most of the affected travelers formed long queues at the Kamukunji and Shauri Moyo police stations where they were recording statements.