Friday, 21st July 2023, Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) would like to express its concerns over the ongoing protests and their impact in the country. We acknowledge that as per Article 37 of the Kenyan Constitution, 2010, and in accordance with provisions of the Public Order Act “Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.” It is critical that this should be done while safeguarding every Kenyan and without interrupting business operations or destruction of property. Considering this we would like to state as follows:
Safety of people, consumers, and enterprises:
We are deeply concerned by the safety and well-being of Kenyans, our employees, and customers during the ongoing protests. Regrettably, several people have lost their lives. We empathise with their families during these difficult times. Additionally, the protests have created an uncertainty and fear making it quite challenging for employees to travel safely to work. The safety of consumers visiting business premises has been gravely jeopardized further aggravating the already challenging situation. Suffice to note, businesses have not been spared either with reports of damages and loss of properties such as, vehicles, offices, shops, infrastructure, and outlets.
Negative Impact on Businesses:
The ongoing protests have dealt a significant blow to the manufacturing sector. We share the pain of most of our members who have reported that numerous businesses have experienced disruptions, hindering their day-to-day operations. This has led to severe financial losses for businesses of all sizes, affecting not only their growth but also the livelihoods of their employees. In some instances, some businesses and retail outlets have borne the brunt of angry protesters who vandalized their enterprises as we have
witnessed in the media outlets.
Our manufacturing sector contribution to the Kenyan economy stands at about 1 trillion shillings as per the Economic Survey 2023. This translates to approximately 2.86 billion shillings daily in value addition. Therefore, the country stands to lose up to 2.86 billion shillings daily if the protests continue to disrupt businesses as we have witnessed in the last two weeks.
Disruption of Logistics:
The continuous demonstrations have also severely disrupted the logistics and supply chain
networks essential for the smooth flow of manufactured products to the end consumers. These disruptions have hampered the ability to transport raw materials and finished goods thereby affecting the entire manufacturing process, leading to delays and increased costs. This directly impacts the availability of essential products in the market, leading to potential shortages and price volatility. This will not help alleviate the pain of the high cost of living and will instead increase it further.
Impact on Investment Climate:
Investors rely heavily on a stable political and social environment that assures the safety of their investments whilst guaranteeing that business operations will not be disrupted. Kenya’s reputation as an attractive investment hub is at risk following these demonstrations. With an ambitious plan to grow the manufacturing sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) threefold from the current 7.8% to 20% by 2030, we
are concerned that this may not be achievable at the current trend.
We appreciate the role played by the Police to safeguard life and property during the protests. Whilst a noble cause, it is not sustainable to deploy such resources on a day-to day basis as a precautionary measure. Further, we implore on all independent institutions, including the Police, NCIC, Parliament and the Judiciary, to play their Constitutional roles independently for the good of all Kenyans.
We urge the Government and Azimio La Umoja to lead from the front and strive to resolve this stalemate using peaceful means such as dialogue and any other means provided for by the Constitution. As it is, we are in a lose-lose situation. We must all agree to dialogue and endeavour to find a compromise for us to move forward as a country and not reverse the gains we have achieved so far. The Kenyan Constitution has sufficient ways to address grievances through various institutions such as Parliament, Judiciary, and other independent bodies. We urge all Kenyans that, we have an equal responsibility to prioritize and maintain peace, stability, and the long-term well-being of our beloved country, Kenya.