Sakaja’s apology to Nairobi traders following harrasment
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has condemned his inspectorate officers for harassing hawkers.
This follows an ugly incident witnessed on October 18, 2023, in which city inspectorate officers were caught on camera engaging in running battles with traders and hawkers in a crackdown on traders operating in the Central Business District (CBD) without valid documents from the county government.
In the ordeal, dozens of traders were harassed, and their wares confiscated.
In a statement, however, the county boss, who is on an official trip to France, apologized for the manner in which the hawkers were handled and called for their unconditional release.
He also asked for the traders to be compensated.
“I have ordered the immediate release of all confiscated items, apologized to the traders, and personally compensated each of them to the tune of 10,000 shillings each,” said Sakaja.
He added that the action from his inspectorate officers was uncalled for and that his administration has continually implored officers to treat Nairobi residents with dignity.
“We have had cordial relations with informal traders for a year but lately there have been unfortunate incidences that seek to sabotage that.
Further, the governor promised to take disciplinary action against officers who were in charge of the operation.
“Even if the traders were operating without the required documentation, including a Medical Certificate from Public Health that every food handler must-have for the safety of Nairobians, they did not deserve such treatment and we are dealing with this internally.”
The apology from the governor comes after criticism from the Kenyans on social media who blamed his office for treating small traders without dignity.
David Ndii, who is an economist, and doubles as President Ruto’s chair of the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors blamed the governor for the unfortunate scene.
“The Nairobi County leadership is not hustler-friendly. That’s why I keep prodding Sakaja on it. Sakaja runs on an “order” platform. His plan was to put hustlers in markets which is UpperDeck sillyness. Street vendors are on streets because that’s where customers are,” Ndii said.
The situation happened against the governor’s promise to hawkers that under his leadership, hawkers would not be arrested since they are genuine hustlers who are struggling to feed their families.
The County Executive Committee Member in charge of Trade Ms Maureen Njeri did not respond to the situation despite several attempts to reach her office for comments.