14 November 2012

Kenya: Eldoret Hawkers Injure Six Council Askaris

SIX Eldoret Municipal Council askaris were hospitalised after they were attacked by hawkers. Council chairperson Elizabeth Kibii said the hawkers defied an order by the askaris to vacate the central business district.

A market has been aside for the hawkers outside the CBD. The hawkers menace has given rise to two factions of councillors. One group wants the hawkers to be driven out of the CBD while the other wants them to be allowed to stay.

Of the second group Kibii said, "I think they are colluding with them (the hawkers)." She added that the hawkers flock to the CBD mostly in the evening leading to an increase in crime.

"People are pickpocketed because there is crowding in the streets. By the time you go through you have lost you belongings," Kibii said. She said some businesspeople have threatened to move out of some buildings because the hawkers block access to the shops.

"If you park your car you cannot leave until they are done because they threaten to stone motorists. They steal tyres, side mirrors among other things. Really this town is in a mess," Kibii said.

While saying the council should strive to protect the business community, Kibii added that the police should work together with the municipal askaris to drive away the hawkers. She said the influx of hawkers has overwhelmed the council askaris.

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