8/20/2017
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Traders evacuate goods for fear of looting as vote count begins


Wednesday August 9, 2017

RMA Motors dealership in Westlands. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Several businesses in Nairobi have evacuated their goods from display areas for fear of looting as vote counting across the country continues following yesterday’s General Election.

RMA Motors, which holds the exclusive resale franchise for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, has removed all their vehicles from the foyer of its Westlands-based head offices.

Isuzu East Africa, previously General Motors East Africa, has also removed vehicles from its Chevrolet showroom in Westlands, seeking to protect the new vehicles, which cost millions of shillings.

Toyota Kenya, which sells vehicles like Corolla, Fortuner, Hilux, Rav-4 and Land Cruiser, has similarly carted most vehicles from its main showroom opposite Nyayo National Stadium, leaving behind just two cars.

The dealer has also removed all motorcycles and generators from its adjacent Yamaha outlet.

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Fashion stores City Walk and E-couture, both located near The Stanley Hotel in Nairobi’s central business district (CBD), as well as several mobile phone shops now have empty display areas.

Habil Olaka, the chief executive of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), in a past interview with the Business Daily said the lobby’s election preparations included securing their prized assets — banking halls.

Kenya is no stranger to violent polls. The 2007/2008 post-election violence, which left about 1,200 people dead and 600,000 displaced, also saw businesses looted, prompting many to be cautious this time around.

In Mombasa, those who own open car yards and showrooms have placed iron sheets around their premises while some have removed cars from the yards.

More than 150,000 members of the security forces — including wildlife, prison and forestry officers — were deployed for polling day.

Kenyan companies have over the past few months been preparing their staff for the unexpected during the elections, even as they invest heavily in campaigns for credible and peaceful polls.

Some companies took their employees through safety and emergency response drills ahead of Tuesday’s polls.

The preparations, which signalled corporate Kenya’s discomfort with the build-up of tension around the polls, saw companies map out the election violence hotspots.



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