23 September 2017

Kenya: Governor Sonko Pushes Hawkers to the Backstreets

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has said hawkers will be moved to the backstreets as the county works on a permanent place for them.

This comes after the Nairobi Hawkers' Association leaders, during a meeting at City Hall on Thursday, pressed Governor Sonko to put up stalls for them, register all hawkers, stop harassment and inhumane treatment meted on them by county askaris and have the askaris wear uniform for better identification.


Responding to the requests, Mr Sonko said a committee had been formed to come up with a durable solution; but in the meantime they will operate in the backstreets.

"We will not chase you from the city center like dogs but we will look for places [for you to operate at] first.

"This is where my votes came from. I started fighting for hawkers when I was a legislator of Makadara and I have continued to fight for your rights since then. I will not change now that I am a governor," he said.


The county boss added that he had directed Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe to deliberate the matter with the director of Trade.

"I have instructed Mr Igathe to sit with the director of Trade and find a place for the hawkers. Hawkers will now be known as small-scale traders.

"You are Kenyans and you do hawking not because you love it but because it is the only way you can earn a living," he said.


He also said that harassment and inhumane treatment of hawkers by County Inspectorate Askaris would be a thing of the past.

"I had a meeting with county askaris and gave directive that no hawker should be harassed or treated inhumanely but give warning to first time offenders, and arrest second time offenders.

"You will not be harassed when I am still the Governor," he said.


Further, regarding a contested land in Eastleigh, he said:

"I have revoked the Eastleigh title but the thief is still building but let me tell him that we will go and bring down the building if the police cannot stop the construction."


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