Economy

Dealers move luxury vehicles ahead of presidential results

cars

Car Bazaar at Jamhuri grounds in Nairobi. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Luxury second-hand car resellers have joined other open market traders who are moving their property to more secure locations ahead of the announcement of presidential polls in Nairobi.

Traders who spoke to the Business Daily said though they do not expect violence to erupt after the final announcement, they were shielding their businesses as a precaution.

Along Ngong Road, some second-hand car dealers were placing iron sheet barricades and installing surveillance cameras, barbed wires and electric fences to safeguard their cars worth millions.

A security officer at one of the Pakistani-owned car yards told Business Daily, that they had moved the vehicles from the front yard fearing burglary and damage during the electioneering period.

“We hid our cars in our backyard because we fear violence might erupt and result in destruction of these cars,” said James Ambeta, the security officer at a car yard along Ngong road.

Mr Ambeta said they will assess the situation once the presidential results are announced before resuming operations.

Some business people said they are hopeful this year’s polls will be peaceful and the transition into the new government seamless.

Tony Njoroge, a car sales executive on Kiambu Road said the business is slow. “We haven’t experienced much agitation here. We just look forward to a better working environment from the new president,” said Mr Njoroge.

A section of Nairobi residents went upcountry to cast their ballot leaving the capital city empty and businesses running slow.

In the central business district, there was less vehicle traffic yesterday and few businesses were open.

The city was one of the epicentres of post-election violence 15 years ago, which left some 1,500 people around the country dead and over 500,000 displaced.

Supermarkets, bars and restaurants remained closed on Tuesday as Kenyans took to the ballot.

On Wednesday morning, less than 50 traders were open for business in the popular Toi market.

The open-air market is located on the outskirts of Kibera, a region said to be the political stronghold of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Josephine Mwikali, a trader in second-hand clothes, popularly known as mitumba, said she struggles to feed her family with the current high cost of living and hence cannot afford to stay at home despite the looming tension.

“Due to uneasiness posed by the electioneering period, a majority of traders have left the city, fear of post-election violence although it’s not as serious as in 2007, this region has experienced chaos before hence the precaution,” said Francis Mbati.

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