Kenya, November 9, 2017 – Kenya’s private sector has expressed disappointment with the National Super Alliance (Nasa)’s call to boycott products of some companies in the country, saying it is dampening the economy.
Through the sector’s lead lobby group-the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the business community says the boycott is only making things worse, as the economy is already bleeding from the disruptive elections witnessed this year.
The Kepsa leadership on Wednesday strongly objected the boycott, saying the move forms an attempt to achieve political goals by intimidating certain companies, “in the hope that others will be too frightened to stand by their colleagues.”
“We will stand by all companies so targeted, and those who may be targeted in future. We expect the authorities to ensure that, while the constitutional right to boycott is and must be held sacrosanct, any attempts to intimidate or harm people or property are met firmly with all lawful means available,” Kepsa board of directors said in a statement.
The alliance warned of multiple effects as a result of a slowdown in the country’s economy, being worsened by the boycott.
It said the attempt to achieve political goals by targeting private companies on spurious, non-proven and incoherent reasons, adds yet another layer of uncertainty to what has been a fraught year for business, and for the economy.
“It has also introduced unnecessary anxiety among Kenyans about their livelihoods and future, about whether they will be able to pay school fees come January, whether they will still have jobs this time next year and, therefore, access to some form of health insurance or whether they will have to fall back on savings to sustain their families,” the alliance said.
Last Month, Kepsa said the private sector had lost about Sh700 billion during the election period, a hit on the sector which plays a critical role in the country’s economy.
Nasa has called for the boycott of telecommunication company – Safaricom’s products.
It has also urged its supporters not to buy products from Bidco, an edible oils and detergents company and Brookside Dairies, associated with the Kenyatta family.
This is in protest of the just concluded repeated presidential elections where President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner.
“We hope politicians focus on finding means to resolve their differences. As private sector, we will not hesitate to speak out in defence of companies targeted for victimisation, and to stand by them,” Kepsa said.
“Let companies rise and fall on the strength of their success or otherwise in attracting consumers through meeting their needs, not through the capricious and arbitrary actions of political or other players,” it added.
On Monday, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) warned that about 100,000 jobs are at stake following the boycott.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli appealed to the Nasa leadership to reconsider the call.
Safaricom dealers have also warned that boycotting the telco’s products and services will leave at least one million Kenyans jobless.
By Martin Mwita