Just a few weeks ago, a group of Mathare residents took to the streets, to protest ‘Police Brutality’. This has been brought about by the killings and the abuse that has been inflicted upon their residence, especially during the dusk to dawn curfew. Then recently, another group protested in the CBD against the same issue. This time they were met with force and the police disrupted the picket.
The black lives matter movement all over the world, grew because of the need for change, mostly where social justice is concerned. Sudan’s protest for new leadership fanned by frustration over their government for poor service delivery and increased economic turmoil. Algeria protested for more than 6 months consecutively after their former president announced his candidature for the 5th term. Obviously, they were fed up with Boutefika’s regime.
Is there a danger of the same thing happening in Kenya? How will these protest affect the business environment of our country? Due to the lack of social justice in Kenya, the growing frustration with the government’s inadequacies and being fed up with the political class, there is a big chance that in the near future Kenya will end up with protests of its own. When that happens, eventually, businesses are bound to be affected.
Just like the pandemic, businesses that will be affected will be forced to lay off workers. And send others on compulsory leave. Mostly workers working in the hospitality sector, since tourists won’t come in and risk being caught in the crossfire between the protesters and the police. Small businesses around the protest areas could benefit or lose depending on whether the protest remains peaceful. Businesses and institutions that seem to support social injustice will be boycotted and in the worst scenarios looted by angry demonstrators. Businesses that will push for equal justice and lobby the government for change are more likely to increase their sales. And informal traders will benefit from the protests by selling snacks and merchandize during the protests.
What businesses should do now is adopt improve their relationship with the community around them. They should reposition themselves to a place where they support meaningful change in this country. And in the worst case scenario take up insurance for their products being destroyed during a protest.
Written by Ian Muchina