The Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) has condemned the looting and destruction of property at Tumaini Supermarkets, Kisumu branch, on Friday by the National Super Alliance supporters.
NASA supporters burgled the retail store during the anti-Electoral and Boundaries Commission demonstrations, stealing and destroying property worth hundreds of thousands.
Anti-riot police were forced to lob teargas canisters and shoot in the air to disperse the rowdy demonstrators, who are backing their NASA party’s call for change at the IEBC ahead of the October 26 presidential re-run.
In a statement released on Saturday by its chairman Muchiri Wahome, RETRAK expressed concerns on the increasing frequency and threats that continue to face formal and informal retail sector players, effectively undermining the county’s economic development ideals.
“At RETRAK we condemn such incidents that impact negatively and occasion unnecessary losses to our membership and non-members. We call upon the security machinery to consider beefing up security for the players in the retail sector during this electoral season,” Wahome said.
The association has called on the politicians to urge their supporters to maintain law and order at all times.
“We also wish to commend the Kisumu County Commander for the swift response in aid of Tumaini Supermarket yesterday. We convey our message of empathy to the Tumaini Supermarket Chairman, Mr. Elijah Okello and his management team,” Wahome said in the statement.
Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, has witnessed repeated looting of businesses during demonstrations, a move that has continued to affect growth of enterprises in the country’s third largest city.
The business Kenyan community has raised concerns that the current political stand-off is hurting the economy.
Through the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), which brings together players from different sectors of the economy, the business community has said the heated political rhetoric and hard-line positions are derailing the economy.
Already the country’s Gross Domestic Product growth has slowed down markedly to five per cent in the immediate pre-election period, according to Kepsa, a trend that is expected to worsen when updated numbers taking in the election period come out.
Both NASA and the ruling Jubilee Party have taken a hard stance ahead of the repeat presidential poll, raising political temperatures.
NASA has been calling for the removal of select IEBC staff they accuse of bungling the August 8, presidential election.
The opposition insists there will be no elections without changes at the IEBC while Jubilee says the poll must take place on October 26 as planned.
By Martin Mwita