NAIROBI, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — The Kenyan business community on Friday renewed call for dialogue among warring political players to end tensions that have taken a heavy toll on investments and economic growth.
The business community in a joint statement in Nairobi warned that the volatile political environment characterized by street protests and negative rhetoric ahead of repeat presidential polls slated for Oct. 26 could undermine Kenya’s stability, peace, cohesion and economic progress.
“The prolonged uncertainty and frequent disruptions arising from this election period are undermining Kenya’s competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global economy,” the local investors said.
The East African nation has witnessed heightened political tensions since the annulment of Aug. 8 presidential elections results by the country’s apex court on Sept. 1 due to illegalities and irregularities during votes transmission.
The incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner but his rival Raila Odinga in the opposition’s National Super Alliance (NASA) contested the victory and file a petition at the supreme court that later nullified the entire exercise.
Odinga and his co-principals had earlier called thrice a week street protests to force administrative changes at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before the repeat presidential polls.
The anti-IEBC protests that had entered the third week were on Thursday banned by Kenyan authorities following outcry from the business community which suffered losses after looting by rioters.
The investors noted that business owners had incurred losses during three weeks of street demonstrations by opposition supporters and urged a quick end to the impasse that has characterized the electoral process.
“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 investors said.
They appealed for an end to political brinkmanship and incitement that could plunge Kenya into an uncertain future.
The investors also urged political leaders to respect the constitution, independent institutions and refrain from utterances that could divide Kenyans along ethnic and sectarian lines.