National Super Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga was yesterday taken to task after he threatened economic boycott of products from some corporations with industry leaders saying the utterances would adversely affect the business climate.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers said the threat was not good for business and the economy, adding that the scare will make companies and investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude. “As a business community we are very disappointed.
These threats are not good for business and the economy,” said Kenya Association of Manufacturers chairperson Flora Mutai. Corporate Staffing Services Managing Partner Perminus Wainaina warned that remarks would have huge ramifications on the labour market as some companies could select who to hire and from what tribe.
“We are in a complicated and sensitive labour market and such utterances if taken serious may lead to discrimination in employment, based on one’s political or tribal affiliation. We are currently having unemployment crisis and any attempt to destabilise the job market will make the situation worse,” Wainaina told People Daily. Investment and business adviser Aly Khan Satchu said the economy had already taken a beating because of the General Election.
“The economy has slowed and such a boycott would further pile pressure,” he said. Speaking at Okoa Kenya after meeting Maa leaders yesterday, Raila claimed some corporations are part and parcel of killing the country’s democracy.”Kenyans are being treated to a huge conspiracy that incorporates local and global players,” stated Raila.
Even as Raila made the economic sabotage threat, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) expressed concern over politicisation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in relation to the August 8 General Election.
CA Director Francis Wangusi yesterday said the claims that local mobile operators were involved in the manipulation of election results were putting the sector in jeopardy. “Politicians should report any alleged election malpractices to relevant law enforcement agencies instead of blanket lynching’ of investors in this strategic sector,” said Wangusi.
On Tuesday Raila claimed Safaricom was involved in the manipulation of the presidential elections results in favour of Jubilee Party but the mobile operator’s chief executive officer Bob Collymore dismissed the claims.
Collymore said all results transmitted through the company’s network were on the IEBC public portal contrary to Raila’s allegations that presidential results were routed to a server abroad but made no provision to return the results to Kenya.
“Results from Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System kits from Safaricom zones, were transmitted and are on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC web portal,” he said. The CEO dared Nasa to go ahead with its planned private prosecution saying it had executed its obligations in line with the contract with IEBC and the Kenyan law.
Wangusi called upon political actors to canvass their agenda in a responsible manner. “As the country prepares for the repeat presidential poll, CA wishes to implore on Kenyans not to lose faith and confidence in technology.”
He pointed out technology had been successfully deployed and embraced in banking, business, education, health, agriculture and government services among others. “It is therefore the responsibility of all well-meaning Kenyans to support investors in the sector and to underline public confidence in ICTs,” he added.
Stella Ojango, a partner at Gikera and Vadgama Advocates , said Raila’s threat would have a ripple effect on the entire population if people forgo their livelihood for a political cause.