The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has slammed Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga’s call to supporters to boycott Safaricom, KCB Bank, and The Star newspaper.
In a statement on Thursday, March 23, 2023, KEPSA said consumer boycotts will only hurt businesses and stall economic growth in the country.
“We are particularly distressed by the unjustified attack on economic drivers such as media, telecommunication and banking institutions that have been cited for consumer boycotts,” KEPSA said.
“Private sector players such as KCB Bank, Safaricom, and the Star, directly and indirectly, employ thousands of politically neutral Kenyans from all walks of life, who must remain shielded from political distress.”
KEPSA said an attack on the economic drivers is an affront to the national economy.
“By a considerable measure, these organisations are also a barometer of our economic stability, and an attack on them is an affront to our national economic aspirations,” KEPSA said.
The Alliance also raised concerns over the destruction of property during the protests.
“Demonstrations where property and lives are lost, such as what we witnessed on Monday [March 20], do not have any winner and we all stand to lose,” said the private sector alliance.
“Such actions undermine the future of the country, cause economic damage and cause apprehension and fear. Such actions also undermine the future generation due to disruptions in learning institutions,” added KEPSA.
The Alliance noted that Kenya is well-positioned to benefit from the global economic recovery, and the threats and interruption of law and order are a risk to sustained economic development.
“We recognize that picketing is an important tool for people to voice their concerns and grievances, and we believe in the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and peaceful protests.
“As we navigate through challenging times, both locally and globally, it is important for all sectors to focus on growing the economy and improving livelihoods for all Kenyans,” the alliance added.