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New uniforms for county askaris soon

More than 1,000 county enforcement officers will get new uniforms, says Deputy City Inspectorate director Gideon Nzioka.

This follows reports of fake inspectorate officers arresting hawkers within the central business district.

Hawkers have always askedfor the officers to wear uniforms to differentiate them from civilians.

“We have a shortage of uniforms for all the county officers but there are plans to ensure all officers are in uniform as soon as possible,” said Mr Nzioka.

He said impostors were taking advantage of this to extort money from informal traders in the town.

“They always appear on the streets when the authorised officers are on other operations and pretend to arrest  people.

“Whenever they arrest hawkers, they demand huge bribes,” he said.

Most of the impostors are former City Hall employees and know their way around the town and authorities.

Mr Nzioka said 15 bogus officers had been arrested and charged them in court in the last six months.

He asked city residents to be on the look out and always ask officers to identify themselves before cooperating with them.

“If a member of the public is arrested, they should  demand that the inspectorate officer produces his job dentity card,” said Mr Nzioka.

However, Mr. Nzioka said  hawking in the CBD and along the highways was illegal and punishable by law.

“We have open air markets like Tsunami in Ngara, Muthurwa, Gikomba, and other Markets where hawking is allowed,” he said.

He added thast cases of wananchi attacking council officers had risen sharply.