, NAIROBI, Kenya June 4 – Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi has ordered the immediate eviction of hawkers from the Central Business District to their designated markets.
Speaking after launching the Korogocho slum upgrading programme on Thursday, Mr Mudavadi said that allowing the hawkers back into the CBD could be harmful to the economy as it creates unfair competition.
“The programme within how to facilitate the hawkers is not a short-term measure and one of the moves was to establish areas like Muthurwa Market and other designated areas. It is important that this is appreciated,” Mr Mudavadi said.
He said the ministry was working with local authorities and the provincial administration to ensure areas earmarked as hawker-free zones remains so.
“It is not possible for anybody to say you can do trade in every corner of this city. That will be wrong, the economy can collapse,” he said.
He noted cases of vested interest in City Hall and other quarters had contributed to encroachment of hawkers.
“City Hall has certainly been unable to perform its duties because there have been some changes in management so there is also some vested interest,” he said.
Mr Mudavadi at the same time appealed for calm during the relocation process to avoid cases of destruction of public property as witnessed in Mombasa where a fire engine was set ablaze during a protest by hawkers.
He condemned the acts of violence in Nairobi and Mombasa adding that the burning of the fire engine exposed the two cities to serious dangers.
Mr Mudavadi described the Mombasa scenario as a shot in the foot for the coastal economy which relies heavily on the tourism sector.
“If you create an environment that does a lot of damage to tourism in this country; there will be more hotel closures, job losses as a result and everything will start collapsing,” he said.
The Minister said there is a need for a multiple phased approach so as to improve facilities in other towns adding that this will slow down the number of people coming to the capital in search for employment.
The DPM said the ministry will in the next financial year be rolling out a plan to establish new hawkers markets in other towns in different regions that he believes will help the small scale traders.
“We are also trying to build markets in other towns because you see the mistake everybody sometimes tends to make everybody wants to go to one centre so even if we concentrated all our modernisation efforts in Nairobi what will you be doing to Thika and others,” he said.