Post Election 'Syndrome' and New Economies

Election violence broke out in areas across Kenya this year and was concentrate in the lowest income areas. There is still a lot of uncertainty and much of Kenya's economy is still in what people call Post Election Syndrome where the usual amounts of money coming into the slums isn't because larger markets have been disrupted.

Lydia Anyango reporting from Mombasa:

The streets of Mikindani and Bangladesh are almost empty. It is not usual to see these streets like this. They are normally flocked by people buying, selling and others just running up and down. This is what we call Post Election ‘Syndrome’. People have fled to upcountry for ‘safety’ while others are just indoors. It clear that the recent elections and current political situation has caused serious economic instability.

Khadija a woman selling vegetables is known by most people in the community. Regardless of the post election economy, she still opens her business very early in the morning. I ask her if she is not worried of getting into loss if her mboga doesn’t sell, “I am not worried and in fact I’ll sell it all before you know it. I don’t only depend Kenyan Shillings. Here we use Ng’ombeni-Pesa (NP) especially at a time when the economy is down like now,” she says. “Why should I worry when I can also use community currency to meet my daily needs?” She adds. Khadija wishes that the whole country embraces the use of alternative currency so that people won’t worry and would still meet their needs when the Kenyan Shillings goes down.

In Bangladesh, I come across this old man, Francis Muyula. He looks happy and you might wonder why, yet he if just a cobbler. I sought to know why. In Swahili Mr Muyula says, “Mimi sina hofu kwa sababu hata kama hakuna pesa ya Kenya, siwezi lala njaa kwa sababu mimi natumia Bangla-pesa kununua chakula”. (I am not worried even though I don’t have Kenyan shillings now because I have Bangla-Pesa (BP) so I cannot sleep hungry.) He says that his customers are from the Bangladesh slum community so they pay him with BP which he uses to buy food within the community.

Despite the situation rolling over the country, the economy of the Bangladesh community seems not to have received as strong blow.

The community in Mombasa have been trading using Sarafu Credit (SC) for almost four years and to them trade goes on as usual even when the Kenyan currency is low.

Daniel Mukosia reporting from Nairobi:

Rebba Nyarotso in Nairobi does bead work and tailors sweaters and scarfs. She started using Community Currency more than one and half years ago and is actively trading using Gatina-Pesa. She has increased her profits by gaining more sales and customers who are part of the business network.This has enabled her earn profits that made her expand her business. This year when the elections were held on the 26th of October, violence erupted in Kawangware areas (Stage 2,Congo, 56 mwisho) among others. The impact of this resulted in shutting down most of Nairobi's slum economies. If it had not been for the community currency users Rebba says she wouldn't have been able to buy food. Mama mboga were no where to be found and she made no sales,no transportation was easily available and if it was,then it was beyond her reach.

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