The Nakuru business community has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to lift the night curfew and allow the economy to fully reopen.
Led by National Bar Owners Association secretary-general Boniface Gachoka, boda boda spokesperson Mwanda Stephen and Nakuru Digital Cabs secretary-general Isaac Mwangi, they said it was unfair that politicians are allowed to hold rallies but the curfew is still in place.
They pleaded with the President to end the curfew when he addresses the nation on Mashujaa Day, which will be celebrated Wednesday in Kirinyaga County.
They said lifting the ban on social gatherings will allow businesses to thrive again and help restore Kenya’s economy.
“We are requesting the President to give us an opportunity to operate (all businesses) as we used to before the pandemic. Businesses have gone down. We have followed all protocols as required by the Ministry of Health. It is now time we are allowed to operate fully,” Mr Gachoka said.
He said Covid-19 infections were dropping and the government should allow normality to return.
He also regretted that politicians are being allowed to hold public gatherings but business activities are still restricted.
“We are seeing politicians going round every day holding meetings. Most of the time, they do not even comply with the restrictions. We wonder why we have not been allowed to go back and operate as usual yet we have followed all the protocols,” he said.
For his part, Mr Mwanda said that many people who depended on the boda boda sector for their livelihoods have been greatly affected due to reduced time of operations.
His sentiments were echoed by digital cab drivers.
"We are greatly affected by the closure of especially bars at night and the ban on night travel. Working extra hours helps us earn extra coins, which help us to service our loans," Mr Mwangi said.
Linda Kagia, a representative of local manufacturers, regretted that operating hours are restricted.
She said reopening bars and restaurants fully will allow them to operate 24 hours and help restore the country’s economy.
She said that manufacturers had lost a lot of income in the last one year, forcing employers to lay off their workers.
“We have all complied with the MoH guidelines. We understand what is required from us. It is time the government allowed us to resume operations," she said.