[email protected]: Hawkers invasion real nightmare for Nairobians
While launching his campaign manifesto back in July 2017, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko promised to address seven priority areas within his first 100 days in office.
His promises included housing and settlement, education and health, environment, traffic management and transport, jobs and social inclusion.
The 100 days are finally here -Mr Sonko was sworn in on August 21 meaning his 100-day honeymoon ends on Thursday, November 29.
So has Sonko delivered on these promises? On the first of a series of articles on Sonko’s first 100 days in office, Nairobi News takes a look at the hawkers situation within Nairobi’s CBD.
In 100 days, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was to have hawkers operating in designated areas and times so as not to distract other businesses.
The hawker situation in the county has however worsened during his administration as no-go-areas like Moi Avenue are now infiltrated.
Despite them being allowed to sell after 2pm, Tom Mboya Street and the area near the Globe roundabout has been a haven for them in the morning hours.
“We will plan and organize together with hawkers and small scale traders, to identify specific hours, days and designated spaces for them to conduct their business in a way that benefits them, while enabling the smooth flow of human and vehicular traffic in our city streets and suburbs,” read Sonko’s manifesto.
His latest online videos trying to prove that hawkers are not in the CBD before 2pm don’t reflect the real situation on the ground.
Nairobians have even shared real-time photos of the hawkers going about their business before 2pm and in return the governor has promised to move them out of the CBD by the end of November.
On November 8, Sonko wrote, “My administration is working on means and ways that will ensure a progressive and humane relocation of hawkers to designated streets and lanes where they can freely do their businesses without obstructing other people as well as other business owners.”
He said that his government had identified Mwariro market and had plans to acquire buildings like KPCU to be transformed into a hawkers market.
“We will create a Directorate of Hawkers and Small scale Traders-which will work closely with micro-finance institutions and NGOs to set policies for informal traders that enables them to access funding and business support; work with security agencies to provide regulatory and legal support for the small trader activities,” Sonko’s manifesto on financing SMEs reads.
Kim Waweru of City Street Vendors Empowerment Programme says there has not been any advancement of loans to the hawkers.
“What we understand is that there has long campaign period which may have affected service delivery. There was a meeting the Governor called and during that meeting he unveiled a committee to work on our issues so are waiting for a report from them,” he said.
Governor Sonko’s administration was in to “re-train County Inspectorate and ‘askaris’ to offer a supportive, facilitate and customer service role, while adopting the use of technology for law enforcement.”
Mr Waweru told Nairobi News that there has been a big improvement in the way the askaris handle hawkers.
“The engagement is very different as they are no longer violent and are no longer holding people in the vans for hours, they usually take them to courts immediately. The arrests are also more humane than before and we have no cases of injured or killed hawkers like we used to have,” he added.