Yesterday I woke up to scenes of a bit of traffic on Nairobi roads which had otherwise been deserted for quite a few days surrounding the elections. As much as everyone, myself included, hates traffic, the pictures coming from Thika Road and other areas represented a return to normalcy for a large section of Kenyans. I saw photos on social media of people mingling and going about their business in Gikomba and I’d like to believe that that is the case in other markets and indeed all sectors of the economy as well.
Today I woke up to a number of emails after a rather quiet inbox. Normally I would give anything to wake up to an empty inbox but in this case I felt elated that things were coming back to normal. People were back in offices after a whole week of absence. I don’t know about your industry but mine was nearly paralyzed by the elections. A full month prior, our usual clients pushed everything to ‘after elections’. These two words became a running joke in the office and on social media with people postponing all manner of things to after elections – like finally joining the gym 😀 Jokes aside, ‘after elections’ thing spelled reduced income and that’s not a nice thing!
Anyway, one can see why many of us could not wait for elections to be over so we could get back to work. Not to belittle the sentiments of those who feel they have a bone to pick with the recently concluded elections but despite those issues which the aggrieved are working towards sorting, a lot of Kenya is back to functional. And just as well so that as they seek redress, the economy is still grinding along, people are still making money and feeding themselves and their families.
My cousin who sells boiled eggs at the busy Makutano stage called to say that after a scary lull in business due to a severe decline in matatus, things are coming back to normal. He’s not yet back to selling as many trays as he usually does but yesterday alone he did about half his usual business. I would imagine that by tomorrow, he’ll be back to normal business.
It is not out of heartlessness that a majority of Kenyans is going on with their business as usual. It is not out of blindness to the fact that there is dissatisfaction from some quarters and that there are reports of distress in some areas. It is a desire among Kenyans from all walks of life and all professions to do what they do best – work hard to early a living. Kenyans are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and it is these businesses big and small that light up our economy. Politics often takes an unfortunate turn and for me, other cast my vote, wait for a favourable outcome and offer my sincere sympathy to those aggrieved by the results, the next best thing I can do is go back to work and help move the nation forward.
Another indicator of business getting back to normal is performance at the bourse which was negatively affected by the political atmosphere last week. It bounced back rather fast and was back to pre-polls level by yesterday 14th.