Kenya: Private Sector Firms Caution Politicians

Nairobi — The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) last week moved to warn political players in the country against any acts of animosity resulting in violence.

The body that brings together the country's business community was categorical that the Kenyan elections set for March 4th this year have attracted a lot of international attention and any indications of tension could seriously dent Kenya's investment environment.

The warning follows isolated cases of violence following the political party primaries conducted the previous week where rivals for various positions clashed in parts of the country including Kisumu and pockets within Central Province.

"We wish to call on the political class to ensure that their campaigns and the elections are devoid of any tensions that could breed violence. Sectors like tourism are already reeling under hard times and we cannot accept any further home-made setbacks," said KEPSA Chief Executive Officer Carole Kariuki.

The tourism sector in Kenya contributes almost 10 per cent of the GDP making it the third highest earner after agriculture and manufacturing.

All is set for the March poll with the various bodies charged with organizing the process indicating that they are good and set to go. All eyes will be on the Interim Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on the manner in which it conducts that process in the wake of serious flows that led to violence and bloodshed in 2007.

"As the business community, we are ready to work hand in hand with the government agencies and the general public in ensuring that we realize a peaceful, free and fair election come March," she said.

Kenya is currently on a steady and sustained economic growth path with analysts reporting that a peaceful poll could see the economy grow by 5.5 per cent this year after registering a 4.5 per cent growth in 2012.

The World Bank has however been categorical that any mishaps in the elections could seriously affect the country's economic growth and any future investment prospects.

President Mwai Kibaki last week called on those seeking to replace him to ensure that they carry out their campaigns peacefully. He also challenged them to take the development cue he has left if Kenya is to achieve its Vision 2030 goals.

"Our country is on the path of economic development. I expect the government that takes over to continue on this path. I urge all Kenya's to think deeply and reflect on the future of this great nation before casting their votes." said the President.

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