he business community in Kenya has applauded the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for staying put on the presidential elections re-run planned for October 26, saying it is best for the country’s economy.
Through the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the voice of private sector in Kenya, the business community has said prolonged uncertainty and frequent disruptions, arising from the election period, are undermining Kenya’s competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Kepsa has however assured local and international investors that the country remains an attractive investment destination.
In a statement made on Friday, Kepsa said several businesses have been forced to employ a wait-and-see attitude on key investment and spending decisions, as they await the end of the Presidential election process.
“The linkages that tie businesses within a complex, integrated modern economy mean that the ripple effects of such decisions have spread to all businesses especially to Small and Medium Enterprises , which account for a large proportion of Kenya’s businesses, and on which much of our economic growth is premised,” Kepsa said in the statement.
IEBC has maintained that National Super Alliance Presidential candidate Raila Odinga will be on the presidential ballot paper, despite announcing on Tuesday that he had withdrawn from the repeat poll.
According to IEBC, Raila had not officially pulled out of the race as he was yet to sign Form 24A as required in the electoral regulations.
The business community said independent institutions such as the IEBC and Judiciary must be allowed to execute their mandates, affirming that it will speak out without fear and favor against those who try to sabotage the institutions’ activities.
However, the institutions must be non-partisan, the business community said.
“The IEBC must execute its mandate in manner that does not undermine Kenyans’ confidence in the conduct of the electoral process, and in the outcomes of this process. The IEBC must not allow itself to be intimidated by any political force,” Kepsa said.
It has also called on politicians, their supporters and commentators on political matters to respect the institutions’ independence and mandates.
“Politicians are, of course, free to criticize and disagree with these institutions’ decisions and actions, but not to the point of active disrespect, and of undermining their capabilities and activities,” the alliance said.
Anti-IEBC demonstrations in the past weeks have led to losses of property worth million in major towns of Nairobi and Kisumu, leading to a ban on demos in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu by the government.
Kepsa said though it supports the freedom of speech and expression, aggrieved parties should express their displeasure peacefully, and avoid disruption of businesses which is hurting the economy.
This is pegged on the fact that more than 80 per cent of all revenues and jobs comes from the private sector and thus a key stakeholder in the economy.
“Our noisy, colorful and very long election will in fact, result in the country becoming an even more attractive investment destination, as dispute resolution institutions and mechanisms, and other guarantors of the rule of law, become further entrenched as they pass through this institution character building election period,” Kepsa told investors.
By Martin Mwita