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DP Gachagua asks Governor Sakaja to respect hawkers

By Winnie Mabel November 30th, 2023 2 min read

While addressing the audience during the one-year anniversary of the government-backed Hustler Fund at the Green Park Railways in Nairobi on November 30, 2023, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua told Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja to respect hawkers selling their wares in the central business district.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to ask our leaders across all the counties across Kenya, including here in the city- these hustlers are very important people, and they should be given the space and time to eke a living and provide for their children. When these hustlers turn to the streets, they have no issues with anyone. They sell their wares and then go home. And I’m asking all leaders, those of us who were voted in, to love these hustlers the way we did while they were lining up to vote for us. The sight of these hustlers should not irritate anybody.”

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Adding, “And we want to urge our county governments not to be pushed by other wealthy people to harass these hustlers. Those rich people already own property, and they didn’t want us to form the government. These hustlers are the ones who stood with us. And so we are asking all counties’ leaders to cooperate with us at the national government in respecting, loving and helping the hustler nation which is responsible for us being in the positions we occupy today,” DP Gachagua told a jubilant crowd.

He spoke hours after Nairobi County Government law enforcement officials, popularly known as Kanjo, were captured demolishing hawkers’ stands at the bus station located in the central business district behind Afya Center yesterday.

The hawkers competed for space on the road with public service vehicles and on pathways, forcing pedestrians to duck and dodge buses coming into and out of the station.

The kanjo were also captured harassing hawkers, forcing Governor Sakaja to suspend three inspectorate bosses over the inhumane treatment of traders, motorists and business owners.

In October 2023, Governor Sakaja banned hawkers from selling their wares on the streets of Nairobi City’s CBD in a bid to tame them.

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Hawkers continue to be a menace in the CBD due to invading pathways and criminals using the hustle and bustle of pedestrians squeezing themselves through wares to pass to steal from unsuspecting victims.

“There will be no hawking on the streets. In fact, I’m enforcing it from tomorrow morning, even around the bus station. I won’t allow it. All out officers must be in uniform. I don’t want anybody to work out of uniform unless they are part of our plain clothes team,” said Governor Sakaja.

The move to ban hawkers from the CBD continues to elicit debate. Many hail the move to restore the sanity and allure of Nairobi City, while others claim the government is out to harass small-scale traders just trying to get by.