Safaricom dealers say staff at risk after NASA boycott call

Safaricom dealers say staff at risk after NASA boycott call
Safaricom Dealers Association Chair Ester Muchemi (second left) during a briefing

Safaricom dealers have raised concerns over calls to boycott the firm’s products adding that it has already affected operations in perceived NASA strongholds.

The Safaricom Dealers Association said the boycott calls have also put their workers at risk and is calling for toning down of political rhetoric in boycotting certain companies and products.

Safaricom Dealers Association chair Ester Muchemi said the boycott calls could impact as many as one million jobs.

“This call is likely to affect all business. Since and during the campaign period we have even at the individual dealer level, experienced a decline. We can almost with certainty say that the politics as they go they are effecting the common mwanachi including us,” Ms Muchemi said at a briefing on Monday.

The opposition led NASA on Friday called for a boycott of Safaricom, Bidco and Brookside products.

Safaricom dealers are a vital cog to the listed firm’s operations accounting for nearly 80 percent of its retail business with distribution of airtime and management of its M-Pesa agent network across the country.

The dealers claim operations especially in the greater Nyanza region had been severely affected.

Jared Ouko a board member of the association and owner of Simba Telecom said the dealers have been a vital part of economic growth with many more dependent on the giant telecom Safaricom.

“We are the ones who invested in ensuring that Kenya was connected to the rest of the world. Before Safaricom you had to pay Sh2,000 for a line. Before Safaricom you could not send money across the country for less than Sh1,000. But most importantly because of this business there are more than 1 million Kenyans who have jobs, Mr Ouko said.

Ms Muchemi, who also runs Samchi Telecom, urged politicians not to politicize businesses going forward.

“Let’s focus because we are not politicians but business people. Bad politics is going to affect business so let’s all sober up,” she stressed.

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