The View From Kenya: Part II

Greetings Zidisha community,

This is Neil, Kenya Client Relationship Manager with Zidisha in Kenya, reporting from Nairobi. I do appreciate your thoughts and concerns, and can echo what Julia has posted above in terms of borrower comments. The linked Economist article is quite good, and worth reading if you want background on these elections.

The general consensus among locals is that Kenyans are very tired of violence, and that the lesson from 2008 has been learned. With a new constitution, and an eye toward tight security at polls and in the slums (where most election-related violence occurs), the institutions are in place to ensure that democracy should prevail.

As Julia mentioned, Zidisha staff in Kenya are well-positioned to avoid any violence during this time, and we are ready to evacuate should it become necessary, something I doubt.

I have met a few borrowers who say that they have felt a business downturn due to the elections. One young man with a promising computer training school near Nakuru said that he went from 20 students a few months ago, to only 8 currently. Others have noted that business is more normalized for their shops, so perhaps it is somewhat dependent on which goods and services are being offered, and in which location.

The results of the election will be broadcast some 48 hours after polls close, which is by Wednesday morning for the US. I anticipate a runoff election between Kenyatta and Odinga, which will take place in early April unless legal challenges push it back even further.

If you are interested in keeping an eye on the elections, I recommend the following resources: (crowdmap)

I hope this helps, and gives you a better picture of the view on the ground here. If you are a lender, why not take this time to leave a note of support for your borrower?

Best wishes,
Neil in Nairobi