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Kenyans ignore NASA work boycott as businesses open

Kenyans trooped back to work on Monday despite work boycott calls by the National Super Alliance (NASA).

NASA leader Raila Odinga had on Sunday called on his supporters to stay away from work in protest over what he called a “stolen election” and a heavy-handed crackdown by police on those protesting the presidential results that handed President Uhuru Kenyatta a second term.

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In Kisumu County, most residents reported to work and their places of business despite the boycott calls.

A spot check by The Standard showed that public servants and those working in the informal sector reported to work.

Respect leader

“I respect NASA leader Raila Odinga, who called for the boycott, but I could not stay in the house any longer because I have children to feed and school fees to pay,” said Mary Akeyo, a casual labourer.

Even boda boda taxi operators reported to work after staying off the streets for nearly a week. Kisumu has been a ghost town as residents stayed home following violent protests by NASA supporters.

In Kibuye market, one of the largest open air markets in East Africa, traders said the protests had affected supplies, leading to an increase in the cost of food and other items.

Eunice Achieng’, a vegetable trader and a single mother, said most of the traders were unhappy with the presidential results but had to return to work to put food on the table.

Joash Otieno, a jua kali artisan, told The Standard he was happy normalcy was returning to the lakeside town.

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There were also residents who said they had stayed away from work as directed by the NASA leader.

Morice Ochieng, chairman of the boda boda operators in Kisumu, said they decided to heed the call and mourn the NASA loss.

In some estates, youths took to harassing residents making their way to work.

In Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties, most residents reported to work save for county government workers in some areas where most of the offices remained closed.

It was also work as usual in Nyamira and Kisii counties.

In Homa Bay, County Commissioner Kassim Farrah said public servants who failed to report to work without permission would be sacked.

“We took roll call from Friday and the turnout was 80 per cent. Today, the turn out was 100 per cent,” said Mr Farrah yesterday.

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In Kakamega County, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya warned that those who refused to report to work would be doing so at their own risk.

“Everybody is at work. Those who boycott duty will be dealt with for absconding. We are in Nairobi discussing the way forward for NASA,” Mr Oparanya said by phone.

In Mt Kenya region, county and national government workers reported to work in disregard of the call to stay away.

Government workers

And Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Wanyama Musiambo said Government workers in the 14 counties reported to duty.

“All Government employees in the region reported to work as usual and normal services are being offered. Even the Huduma centres are open,” said Mr Musiambo.

A spot check in Eldoret revealed that normalcy had returned to the town and its environs.

Hotels, supermarkets and banks among other businesses were operating normally while the main bus terminus was crowded.

By Monday, fares from Eldoret to Nairobi were Sh1,500 while travellers from Nairobi to Eldoret paid only Sh800.

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The Kalenjin Council of Elders has also challenged the Opposition to seek legal redress instead of calling on Kenyans to boycott work.

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