Attract More Investors By Respecting People’s Businesses

By Juma / Published July 10, 2024 | 6:10 am



Del Monte

Kenya has been rocked by violent protests that have entered its third week. At the start, these protests were peaceful, but as the days went by, goons and looters found a way to embed themselves into peaceful protesters to loot and vandalize genuine businesses.

Supermarkets such as Cleanshelf in Rongai, Naivas, and Carrefour within the Nairobi Central Business District were broken into and looted to the ground. On Tuesday, July 2, 2024, during similar protests, tens of youth stormed a popular club in Kitengela known as Quivers and made away with drinks worth millions.

In another similar incident, a whole street within Nairobi CBD known as Wabera Street was swept clean. Shops and stalls were broken into, and people made away with electronics and other valuables worth millions of shillings. Most investors have said they may never recover the losses, even for years.

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The recent attacks, and the looting and vandalizing of people’s businesses, have caused massive losses and are a reminder of what has been going on within Del Monte farms in Thika. There have been cases of young men and women breaking into the farm and stealing pineapples.

What shocked me was one of the young men, on live camera, said that they were stealing the pineapples because the pineapples are “theirs” and planted in a land that belonged to their ancestors.

One of them said, hii ni mananasi yetu. Imepandwa kwa shamba yetu! (These are our pineapples. They have been planted on our farm.) How and where can someone find the courage to say that out loud about someone else’s business?

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In the latest incident, pineapple thieves went to Del Monte farm and pushed down the guard tower with security guards inside, leading to serious injuries. This was an unprovoked incident aimed at immobilizing the security guards so that they could steal the pineapples “without interference.” Where do people get such callousness, brutal hearts, and entitlement over someone else’s investment to the point of not caring about the lives of other people? Since when did thieves in this country become so bold that they expect a red carpet when they come to steal your property?

I call this “entitled thieving”. That is, someone stealing and destroying people’s property because they feel it is their right to do so. Someone sits and waits for someone else to establish their business, then steals and destroys it because they feel that is how it should be.

Interestingly, some of the people with this habit of stealing from people’s businesses use the class war to justify their actions. That is; wanting to brand anyone seeming to be doing well as an enemy to satisfy one’s inner failures and dissatisfactions.

Why am I angry about this unbecoming behavior?

First, it is not easy to set up and run a business in Kenya from scratch. It takes a lot of sacrifice and the will to always move on despite several failures. The cost of doing business is high and investors sacrifice to have their businesses break even. It is never a walk in the park.

Second, these businesses employ people and support families. Any business that employs even one person goes a long way in supporting families down the value chain. It is like a single tree that has roots and branches and cutting it down amounts to many sufferings including the birds.

Third, these businesses pay taxes and revenue to the government. All businesses in Kenya do so and cutting off any of them denies the government the much-needed revenue that goes a long way in giving back to the people.

Fourth, these are people’s investments. It is not legal, and not morally right to be entitled to what people have worked so hard to establish. When you attack and loot someone’s business, many never recover.

Why is this culture dangerous to prospective investors?

Foreign investors, the majority of whom are the major driving force and backbone of our economy, often consider the following factors before deciding to invest in a country like Kenya:

Security: Any investor, whether local or foreign, wants to invest in a country that is safe and guarantees the safety of their investments. Who would want to invest in a country where people attack and steal from businesses at will?

The ease of doing business: This has been a challenge to millions of Kenyan businesses. The ease of doing business in Kenya is still out of touch for many investors. This can be changed through friendly policies by the government of the day.

The need for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Believe me, many investors set up businesses in Kenya to impact communities through CSR. Businesses like Del Monte have schools and hospitals for workers and communities, and millions have benefitted.

There is no doubt that the recent wave of violent protests, looting, and vandalism in Kenya not only disrupts the social fabric but also poses a significant threat to the nation’s economic stability. The devastation of businesses such as Cleanshelf, Naivas, Carrefour, and Quivers, along with the rampant theft on Wabera Street and at Del Monte farms, highlights the grave consequences of such entitled behavior. This culture of “entitled thieving” undermines the immense sacrifices made by entrepreneurs, disrupts employment, diminishes government revenue, and deters both local and foreign investors. To foster a thriving economic environment, it is crucial to address these issues and ensure the security and ease of doing business in Kenya. This will not only protect existing investments but also attract new ones, ultimately benefiting the entire nation through job creation, tax revenue, and community development initiatives.

Read Also: Del Monte Marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month With Free Screening Camp




About Juma

Juma is an enthusiastic journalist who believes that journalism has power to change the world either negatively or positively depending on how one uses it.(020) 528 0222 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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