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Hawkers ordered out of Nairobi streets

Hawkers have been ordered to leave Nairobi’s streets by the end of the week.

The City County government told them to return to designated markets or they will be forced out of the open spaces they occupy in the streets.

The county government threatened to punish both the traders and their customers if they are found conducting business in the city centre.

They will be fined Sh2,000 on the spot according to the county’s by-laws, Trade and Tourism executive Anne Othoro told the Daily Nation on Tuesday.

The amount, she said, would rise to  Sh30,000 once the county assembly passes a new law when its members return from recess.

“The Trade Bill is ready. Once it becomes law, anyone buying from hawkers will be charged on the spot,” she said. “This is not a way to collect money but a deterrent to the menace.”

The hawkers have invaded the streets, raising concern among the city’s residents, since they obstruct access to shops and supermarkets.

Mrs Othoro said most of the hawkers own stalls in markets but move to the city’s streets because buyers do not like going to the markets.

The county government plans to renovate the city’s markets in the next 18 months to expand their capacity, the official said.

REFURBISHED

Under a World Bank-funded project, Uhuru market on Jogoo Road will be renovated to host 5,000 traders and will be dedicated to textile production and retail. It currently holds 500 traders.

Karandini (Dagoretti), Kangemi and Muthurwa markets will also be refurbished in the project, whose feasibility study is to be completed next week.

Mwariro market in Kariokor will be expanded to host over 5,000 traders.

Further, the county government hopes to start building of a fresh produce market on a 42-acre parcel of land in Kariobangi, with a Sh1 billion funding from the African Development Bank.

All fresh produce traders will be relocated to the market, which is expected to have proper processing and packaging facilities, according to Mrs Othoro.

At the same time, Governor Evans Kidero on Monday reduced waivers charged to traders from Sh250 a week to Sh150.

Meanwhile, Nairobi residents have demanded the banning of light wheeled carts from the busy streets in the central business district to ease traffic flow.

They also want the county government to curb the rising number of traders spreading their wares along the streets, especially near Wakulima and Muthurwa markets on Landhies Road and Haile Sellassie Avenue.

“These handcart and trolley pushers and have made life unbearable for motorists and pedestrians,” a matatu driver told the Daily Nation on Haile Selassie Avenue, as he stayed stuck in traffic due to the congestion.