March 26, 2021
Reported by: Eugene Omondi
Pre, during and post-election violence, irrespective of how unfortunate it is, is no longer a new phenomenon in the world. It’s pre-dominantly experienced in Africa as we have seen time and again. The war is between the opposing powers at the top not knowing that the effects trickle down to the common mwananchi and affect them more.
Small-scale businesses such as vegetable vendors, commonly known as ‘mama mboga’, jua kali artisans, boda boda operators, and the like are just but a few of those who take a major hit during such times. Street vendors lack places to sell their products as the streets are not safe. Entrepreneurs with their business premises along the main roads which are hotspots for violence are forced to close down indefinitely due to fear of being vandalized.
The recently concluded by-elections in Kabuchai could be a suitable example as boda boda operators had their operations interrupted due to riots that resulted after villages demonstrated and sent away politicians Millicent Omanga and John Waluke. This in turn affected the locals who highly depend on the boda boda transport.
Small scale businesses in Kenya lose property – burnt buildings, tools as well as inventory. This in turn makes the large firms take a hit since their supply chain is partially broken. This is because small businesses work with large firms as vendors, customers, competitors, or partners. Large businesses learn from small business ingenuity, innovation, agile management, customer service, workplace culture, and diversity. For example, most office furniture is purchased from the ‘juacali’ sector since their work is unique and their prices are also affordable.
The hit that is taken by small-scale businesses during PEV now makes families that depended on that venture as their main source of income suffer financially. The violence makes their operations impossible and some resort to other ways of getting by such as theft and mugging which brings about the issue of insecurity.
Election violence, whether pre, during, or post, is something that should be prevented at all costs. We see operations being halted and this trickles down into the ways of life of the common mwananchi. It in turn puts a strain on the limited resources available as people resort to other unlawful methods of survival.