Business activities in the Nairobi Central Business District were slow on Monday with many shops closed as most enterprises feared attacks or looting during Azimio protests called by Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

This was a sharp contrast to downtown areas of Nyamakima, Wakulima market, Nyamakima, and surrounding areas where business went on as usual with no heavy police presence.

In the CBD, heavily armed anti-riot police patrolled some on horseback and vehicles to keep away demonstrators after Odinga announced that there will protest twice weekly on Monday and Thursday.

Opposition leader Odinga launched demonstrations last week on Monday to force the government to tackle the high cost of living and protest the presidential victory he claims was stolen from him during the August 2022 polls in which President William Ruto was declared winner.

The protests were outlawed by Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome but Odinga and his Opposition troops vowed to push on.

A spot check by Capital Business revealed that banks, Forex bureaus, and other businesses were, however, operating but they were mostly empty due to the minimal traffic in town.

Stanley Musembi, a Manager at Hot Dishes restaurant on Kimathi Street told Capital Business that he was hopeful this Monday’s demonstrations will not be chaotic as compared to last week.

“Last week we closed our hotel at around 10am as the streets turned chaotic and this saw us lose a lot because we did not sell any of the food we had prepared. Today we are hopeful it will remain peaceful so that the business can run,” he said.

During last week’s protests, one person was shot dead by police-a student at Maseno University-while shops and many businesses including Sarova Hotel in Kisumu were vandalised and others looted.

Irene Mutiso who sells mats at Toi market off Ngong Road said she is opposed to the protests that disrupt the economy.

“Last Monday I didn’t open so I didn’t sell, today I have had to open because I don’t have any food in my house. Our children need food and we also need to get school fees,” she said.

Irene noted that in a day she makes around Sh20,000-30,000 but with the protests, she is selling nothing on Mondays.

“Like today I have sold Sh200. We need the protests to end so that business can go back to normal,” she said.

President Ruto has accused Raila of using the protests to force him into negotiations “yet knows he lost and I won the election, that won’t happen. He should stop disrupting people’s businesses.”

Caroline Mutevi who also sells different items at Toi noted that the protests are not wrong but some of the protesters instead of engaging in peaceful demonstrations, in turn, disrupt business and this is wrong.

“My business has really been affected by the protests, last week we didn’t get anything due to the disruptions. We don’t refuse the protests but Kenyans should demonstrate peacefully, they don’t have to destroy our businesses,” said Mutevi.

Samuel Githinji a boda boda rider within the city said the tensions brought about by the protest have really affected business but remained hopeful this Monday’s protest will not be bad.

“Business is really slow today similar to last Monday. in a day I usually make Sh3000-3500 but last Monday due to the protests I made only Sh800, we really want these protests to end,” he said.

At Wakulima market, some hawkers also opened shop hoping to sell some produce despite empty streets which means few customers.

By capital fm