In Summary

  • Corporates have begun instructing their staff on how to stay prepared for any chaos that may come as a result of next month’s election.
  • Elsewhere on the internet, there are at least three travel advisories warning citizens of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to be cautious of the August 8 date as there is a likelihood of violence.
  • Investments in real estate, said Mr Ndoro, have also been scaled down as investors speculate on the outcome.
  • Bamburi advises its staff to avoid being out on particular hours on the election day so as to avoid being caught up in case of chaos.

Eighteen tenants have moved from houses managed by Mr Simon Mwangi in Nairobi’s Mathare area in the last two months, pointing to the apprehension people are having ahead of next month’s polls.

Mr Mwangi, who manages about 70 rental houses spread across Mathare, Kariobangi, Kahawa West and Kasarani estates on behalf of their owners, observes that Mathare has witnessed the highest rate of migration so far.

The most affected areas of Mathare, he said, are Area Four and Kosovo.

Meanwhile, corporates have begun instructing their staff on how to stay prepared for any chaos that may come as a result of next month’s election.

STOCK FOODSTUFFS

Most notable among those is Bamburi Cement Limited. In a communication recently issued to staff, the company’s security department advises employees to stock dry foodstuffs and other basic items in case unrest ensues before or after the polls.

“Purchase at the beginning of July and store in a separate place from your weekly goods so that it is an effective reserve,” the firm told its staff in a statement.

Bamburi’s publicists, amid criticism on social media about the alarmist framing of the notice, said in a statement that it was “an advisory for internal use to enable our employees prepare and anticipate situations”.

Elsewhere on the internet, there are at least three travel advisories warning citizens of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to be cautious of the August 8 date as there is a likelihood of violence.

TRIP ADVISOR

Due to that, there are a couple of discussions currently on-going on travel sites like Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet, where some would-be tourists are asking if it will be safe to visit Kenya in August.

The happenings are a manifestation of the mixture of fear and pessimism that have descended on a number of people, with the General Election date now less than a month away.

Memories of the 2007-2008 violence, which followed a botched election where incumbent Mwai Kibaki was seeking re-election the same way Mr Uhuru Kenyatta is running for his second term in office, seem to have thrown a blanket of precaution far and wide.

Mr Mwangi, the Nairobi-based property manager, said he recently asked one man why he had decided to relocate.

RELOCATE

“I asked someone why he had moved from Mathare to Mwiki. He said: “I gauged the situation and established that it wasn’t good to continue staying there. Let me go where there are many of our people,’” he told the Nation.

Mr Mwangi noted that Kariobangi is also having the same issues albeit on a smaller scale.

“In Kariobangi, three houses have been vacated and there is no one who has come in yet,” he said during an interview on Thursday.

The one area that appears popular with tenants at the moment, he said, is Kahawa West.

KAMITI PRISON

“You hardly hear there is a fight there. It is also because there are armed forces and Kamiti Prison in the vicinity. But in Mathare and Kariobangi, there have been lots of movements,” said Mr Mwangi.

Mr Samuel Ndoro, another property agent in Nairobi’s Kasarani area, says that one worrying trend has been that some home owners have been inquiring about a prospective tenant’s tribe before deciding on whether to let them rent the houses or not.

“They won’t mention when the person is there. But as an agent, I am usually told the truth. The house owners will say, “These people are a bother and when elections come, they can even refuse to pay rent,’” said Mr Ndoro, who has been an agent since 2013.

LIVE TOGETHER

Mr Josephat Nyambane, an agent in Nairobi’s Umoja area, said he had also observed that tenants are choosing to live together with their fellow tribesmen in what he surmises is out of people desiring to have “strength in numbers.”

Investments in real estate, said Mr Ndoro, have also been scaled down as investors speculate on the outcome.

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