Counting losses and missed opportunities resulting from anti-government protests

By Seliphar Machoni

When a country experiences any form of unrestful environment, they are sectors that are greatly affected.

In Kenya the anti-government protests have led to a backslide on the education, business, health, and transport sectors in the country.

Health Sector

The demonstrations that had been going on in the country for the last two weeks caused a lot of injuries on protests which resulted in deaths, injuries, and other demands on the health care.

Injured protesters were rushed to hospitals yet some of the hospitals were already closed due to protests.

Some hospitals had few doctors and nurses since many of them could not make it to hospitals, making those in hospitals to work longer hours as the numbers of patients increased as a result of protests.

According to Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists Dentists Union Secretary General. Davji Atella, demonstrations have increased the number of patients seeking health care service. He condemned the police officers for their actions that landed many protesters in hospital straining the limited resources.

“Demonstrations have caused injuries that end up in hospitals that are already overwhelmed. We would like to condemn police actions that have led to these cases.”Atella said

Atella complained that the government has not fully invested in health, many hospitals lack essential equipment and handle a large number of patients’ health leading to more harm to patients.

“The hospitals that these patients are taken to lack drugs and manpower because the government has not invested in the health sector. This leads to a lot of deaths. “Said Atella

KMPDU reported that many health care facilities were shut down due to disruptions caused by the protests limiting the public from accessing health care services.

In addition, the union in their statement expressed their concern of the safety of the health care workers, saying that the timely treatment, management of diseases and conditions was disrupted hence endangering lives.

“With medical practitioners facing threats and attacks, the fear of violence has led to fear of understaffing, which could further compromise delivery of essential medical services.”

The statement addressed the urgency of the Azimio coalition and the Kenya Kwanza government to find a way of solving issues beside protests with urgency to prevent more harm to the health care sector and the public.

Education Sector

Schools in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu were closed temporarily on 19th, 20th and 21st July following an order issued by the Interior CS Kithure Kindiki to prevent students and pupils from being affected by the protests warning protesters to keep off learning institutions.

This is after 53 students were affected by the teargas that was thrown in their class by the police in pursuit of the protesters.

This will result in learners losing 20 hours of learning and teaching.

In an interview with the media Kenya School Heads Association Charman Kahi Indimuli said that if the protests will not be contained learners tend to lose more hence calling for negotiations between the Azimio leaders and the Kenya Kwanza government.

Kahi urged the police to discipline while handling protesters not to cause harm to innocent pupils.

“Most primary school pupils have no knowledge on how to react in such situations and in secondary schools it might cause stampedes which can lead to injuries to students.”Kahi said

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Collins Oyuu called for dialogue between opposition and the government to stop the protesters which has disrupted the school calendar.

“These demonstrations have affected the smooth running of the education calendar in the affected areas, cities and areas, especially schools located in slums.”Oyuu said

Business Sector

The huge disruptions in the economy due to demonstrations has led to losses. Protests have disrupted the supply chain and market for essential products.

A report issued by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers said that Kenya lost Kshs. 2.6 billion everyday as a result of demonstrations.

In a statement that was read by the chair Rajan Shah said that the ongoing demos have dealt with Kenya manufacturing sectors which has led to severe financial loss for businesses of all kinds.

“Our manufacturing sector contribution to the Kenya economy stands at 1 trillion shillings as per 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 business as we have witnessed in the last two weeks.”

He also commented on Kenya having an attractive reputation for investment. “Investors rely heavily on a stable political and social environment that ensures the safety of their investments while guaranteeing that the business operations are disrupted.” Said Shah

In addition, he said that demos have disrupted logistics and supply chain networks hampering the ability to transport raw materials and finished goods thereby affecting the entire manufacturing process, leading to delayed and increasing costs.

“This directive impacts the availability of essential products in the market, leading to potential shortage and price volatility. These will not help alleviate the pain of the high costs of living and will instead increase it further.”Said Shah

He equally called upon the government and the opposition to find a long-lasting solution to end the ongoing protests as they put in mind the deteriorating economy and people who lost their lives in the process.

“The Constitution offers various ways to address issues in the country such as parliament, Judiciary and independent bodies. Both sides should opt for that. We call upon Kenyans to maintain peace, stability and long-term wellbeing in our country as equal responsibility. “Shah concluded

Transport Sector

The transport sector being at the center stage of almost all sectors, it was also affected by the protests.

Travelers found themselves stuck due to lack of means of transport to their various destinations. Most places where the demonstrations were taking place like Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Migori and Mombasa was a no go zone as most public transport modes like Matatu, motorbikes, tax and buses were avoiding such places.

During Wednesday 12th July protests, public service vehicles issued a 21-day strike notice in response to the mandatory retesting exercise conducted by the National Transport and Safety Authority. (NTSA)

The PSV operators argued that the mandatory taxes were punitive and aimed at frustrating motorists, drivers and public transport service used the demonstration opportunity to voice their grievances.During the protests, drivers were seen engaging in different games in various towns in the country.The demonstrations led to the imposition of an immediate ban on the expressway after it was destroyed by demonstrators during protests affecting transportation.

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