Traders fear ‘hotspot counties’ tag will hurt business months to elections

Traders selling Second-hand clothes. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) classification of some counties as high-risk for election-related violence has raised concerns among traders over its impact on business.

The devolved units face declined revenue generation as most traders take precautionary measures including cutting down on their stocks after the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) classified them as having a high likelihood of election-related violence.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chairman in Uasin Gishu Willy Kenei said the counties stand to suffer investor confidence, cash flow challenges and mobility of goods and services.

“Fears of election-related chaos have proved to be counterproductive to business activities. It affects transport and logistic services of entrepreneurs and general revenue generation for counties,” said Mr Kenei while noting that Uasin Gishu has enjoyed peace for the past 10 years.

“It is our desire that the region continues to experience peace unlike in the past when chaos erupted during or after the General Election impacting business activities,” said David Kosgei, a businessman in Eldoret town.

The NCIC has listed Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Kericho, Nairobi and Mombasa as hotspot counties as the August election draws nearer.

Most real estate investors and businesspersons in the region have hired additional private guards to bolster security due fears of possible election violence.

“I have to put in place proper measures to avoid a repeat of the 2007/2008 post-election violence when I lost property worth millions of shillings due to chaos,” said Amos Kamau, a trader in Eldoret town.

Some of the areas including Turbo, Kesses, Burnt Forest and Kerio Valley are regarded as hotspot areas and additional security personnel have been deployed.

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Stephen Kihara said security patrols have been intensified in crime-prone areas to crack down on hate mongers.

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