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Newspaper vendors allowed back on Uhuru Highway

Newspaper vendors who were recently barred from operating along Uhuru Highway have been allowed to return to the busy highway following a meeting with senior police officers in Nairobi and circulation representatives from two mainstream newspapers.

For the past two weeks vendors, hawkers and beggars had been restricted from operating on the road after motorists complained of rising incidents of crime.

But following the Friday meeting with Officers Commanding Police Division (OCPDs), Elijah Maina (Langata), Nehemiah Langat (Makadara) and Robinson Thuku from Central Police Station and representatives of Nation Media Group and Standard Group circulation departments, the affected vendors agreed to return work on Saturday.

The police and circulation representatives from the two media houses agreed that all the vendors be allowed to do business on the highway on condition that they must be in uniforms bearing their names.

COMMITTING CRIME

 The police gave the two media houses one month to provide photo identification badges to the vendors in order for them to be identified and present all their names to their respective police stations.

Central Police Station OCPD, Robinson Thuku, however warned the vendors that the police will not spare anyone who is found committing crime.

“A sword cuts both ways and if you are found committing any crime you will be dealt with,” said Mr Thuku.

Naftary Maina, a newspaper vendor during a meeting between vendors and police officers in Nairobi. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Naftary Maina, a newspaper vendor during a meeting between vendors and police officers in Nairobi. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

He reminded them that the location they work from was their office and they should know their surroundings including the people who hang around.

He urged them to stick to selling newspapers and to stop hawking other wares, while at the same time promising to kick out all the beggars on the road.

The vendors on their part complained of cases of police intimidation and harassment.

HAWKING

Some of them narrated how police officers have been arresting them and locking them up only to be taken to Nairobi county courts instead of the law courts.

“After being arrested our names are booked on the occurrence book (OB) and the following day we are taken to the county court and fined between Sh500 to Sh2500, because they say we were hawking and not selling newspapers,” said Joseph Maina who has sold newspapers along the highway since 1991.

The crackdown came after a woman was recently slashed and left for dead inside her car along Uhuru Highway by unknown people.

The top police bosses reminded the vendors that, Uhuru Highway was a very important road because it is the gateway to the city.