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Hawkers swarm streets in the centre of Nairobi

HAWKERSNAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – Nairobi residents have raised concerns over the increased number of hawkers within the Central Business District, saying it poses a security threat.

Known for its endless traffic, the city is now swamped with traders who have set shop in undesignated areas.

The Capital FM News crew found the hawkers operating along Tom Mboya and Moi Avenues as early as 8am, not very far from county askaris who are supposed to ensure they are not there.

City residents interviewed asked the Nairobi County Government to enforce its laws that prohibit trading within the CBD and any other undesignated area before the entire city turns into a market.

“I cannot use my phone when all these traders are here…not all of them are doing business,” Benson Njuguna a city resident said.

Another only identified as John said, “The entire city has become a market. There is no difference between Muthurwa market and Moi Avenue.”

“We don’t like you people (the media). Every time you come with your cameras we get harassed by city askaris,” a hawker could be heard saying. “Go write about this but we shall still wrap meat with your newspaper!”

Some of the hawkers however say lack of operating areas and unemployment have prompted them to operate within the CBD while claiming that they have been paying some fees to the city inspectorate.

“We have to pay for them to allow us to operate here…you think they can just allow us to be here? One of the hawkers operating near the National Archives posed.

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Nairobi County Government County Executive for Trade Anna Othoro however told Capital FM News that they intend to arrest both city resident purchasing goods and the hawkers in a bid to curb the menace.

“We will continue to operate within the by-laws as the County Government but the reason why they are there it’s because people are buying from them,” she lamented.

“Do not buy from hawkers; the law is very clear on that.”

She said there is a court injunction barring the county from evicting the hawkers from town after they argued “it amounts to infringement of their basic and civil rights.”

Othoro also said they intend to investigate the claims that the hawkers have been paying some fees.

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