Kenya's investors lobby faults products boycott call by opposition

NAIROBI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), an apex body of local investors, on Thursday criticized calls by the country's main opposition coalition for the boycott of services and products from corporations that were allegedly sympathetic to the government.

The KEPSA, in a statement issued in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, said the opposition's call for the boycott of services from three firms drawn from the media, telecommunications, and financial services could undermine peace, stability and economic growth.

Raila Odinga, the leader of Kenya's main opposition coalition, Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance, on Tuesday urged his supporters to shun services and products from companies he alleged were lending support to President William Ruto's government.

Odinga made the call after opposition leaders and their supporters staged demonstrations in Nairobi and western Kenyan towns Monday to protest against the high cost of living and slow pace of implementation of electoral reforms.

The protests paralyzed economic activities, triggering a call for dialogue between opposition leaders and the government from business executives and religious leaders, to prevent the country from sliding into anarchy.

While acknowledging that citizens have a right to assemble and picket for a good cause as enshrined in the constitution, the KEPSA regretted that Monday's demonstrations which led to the loss of lives and destruction of property were a dent to Kenya's image as an ideal investment destination.

"Demonstrations where property and lives are lost, such as what we witnessed on Monday do not have any winner and we all stand to lose," the KEPSA said. "Such actions undermine the future of the country, cause economic damage and cause apprehension and fear. Such actions also undermine the future generation due to disruptions in learning institutions."

According to the KEPSA, the country stood to gain from global economic recovery hence the need for key political players to desist from actions that could undermine law and order.

The investors appealed to political leaders not to drag business entities that are major employers and sources of revenue to the exchequer into their disputes with the ruling coalition.

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