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Eastleigh traders shut down businesses to protest hawker invasion

Eastleigh traders on Wednesday made good their threat and shut their businesses to protest against the hawking menace in the area.

Eastleigh Business District Association chairman Ibrahim Husein said that they had invested more than Sh100 billion in the malls but the invasion by hawkers has interfered with their businesses.

The traders claim that hawkers have set up sheds by the roadsides while some display their wares outside the malls, hence blocking the entrances to their premises.

Mr Hussein said that they give Sh1billion to the county in taxes which he claimed amounts to 35 per cent of all the revenue collected in Nairobi.

“We have no problem with hawkers, our only appeal is that they should be relocated,” he said.

He added that there were approximately 20,000 hawkers in the area but only 200 are genuine, something that contributes to insecurity.

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“Hawkers who have been chased from town find a safe haven in Eastleigh,” he said.

But Kamukuji Hawkers Association chairman Haji Abdullahi said that his members were happy that shopping malls were closed as they were going to reap big.

Mr Haji alleged that the some county officials had sold their land to a private developer hence they will continue carrying out their businesses on the streets.

He added the stall owners should lower the rental prices to make them affordable to the hawkers. Mr Haji said they were ready to relocate if they are given an alternative by City Hall.

“We are excited that the rich are considering to let us do business without them interrupting. I hope they close for longer,” said Haji.

The shopping malls will remain closed for the next three days, a protest that will take place weekly until the hawkers are removed.