Kenya's post-election unrest leads to worker shortage

"Even though there might be some shortage of workers, all Kenyan flower farms are still in business and exporting", says a Kenyan rose grower in Nakuru.

After Uhuru Kenyatta was elected as president last Friday, angry protests erupted as opposition leader Raila Odinga rejected the results, indicating that electronic systems were hacked in favor of President Kenyatta. Yesterday in Nairbobi, Odinga called on his supporters not to go to work this Monday, partly as a boycott of the election and partly as a commemoration of those who lost their lives over the weekend. (www.npr.org)

But Odinga's call did not seem to be heard. "There might be some shortage of workers, but it is not due to his call and is fortunately not affecting the business of the flower farms in Kenya. In general, we notice that people want to start working again, but", continues this Nakuru rose grower who is in touch with flower farm managers across the country, "some are still cautious and stay home and wait till tomorrow, till Odinga announces his next course of action. Others - particularly in the Eastern part of the country- simply cannot go to work as the transportation system is still withholding them from coming. "As of Friday, it is closed down, so people are not able to come and reach their work spots yet", he says.

In Nakuru, many people seem to be back working again. "At my farm, for example, 100 percent of the employees are back working again today. And I've heard it is 70- 75 percent in Nairobi", he says. Also in Naivasha, people are back working again. One of Kenya's largest flower farms in Naivasha, reports not having any issues with shortage of workers. "It is very peaceful in Naivasha and everyone is at work", the farm reports.

And according to the grower in Nakuru, business is going well. "The prices at the Dutch auction increased a bit, Valentine's Day in China is around the corner and soon, the Russians will start buying for the first school day."

However, there might be some challenging times ahead as Odinga will announce it's next course of action tomorrow, on August 15. "We do not know what he has in mind and therefore cannot predict what will happen." 

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