Nairobi CBD shops closed as nation awaited presidential results

A deserted Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi CBD

A deserted Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi CBD with shops closed on August 15, 2022 as Kenyans awaited the announcement of presidential election results.

Photo credit: Mary Wambui | Nation Media Group

Many shops in Nairobi’s central business district (CBD) were Monday closed as the country awaited the announcement of presidential election results.

Later in the evening, after a long wait, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati declared DP William Ruto Kenya's President elect.

Mr Ruto was declared the winner of a closely fought election after garnering 50.49 per cent of the vote against Raila Odinga's 48.85 per cent.

Fearing violence and looting, many business owners closed their shops to allow workers to watch the announcement from home.

Fear of the unknown

Mr Victor Mwendwa, who sells perfumes and makeup on Moi Avenue, said fear of the unknown prompted him to close his shop.

“I am closing because I don’t know what will happen, but that does not mean I am going home. I will be in town to watch over my shop just in case [something bad happens].”

“I experienced loss in 2017, and I don’t want to go through it again. As a country, we are hoping for a smooth transition.”

Michael, who owns Gifted Hands on the same street, said it is risky running a shop in the centre of Nairobi at this time. He said his best option was to close the shop for now.

“We do not know how it will go. I hope it goes peacefully, but to be on the safe side, I just have to close my shop first. We are on the ground floor, so it is very risky because people take advantage of that,” he said.

Watch the announcement

But as many owners closed their shops because of fear, Jacob Ochieng shut his business to return home and watch the announcement of the results in his house with his family.

“I want to be with my family and watch the presidential results peacefully. I want to be comfortable in my space, where I can shout in peace and if it is tears, well I can go to my bedroom,” Mr Ochieng said.