Shoe shiners, book vendors suffer huge losses as city askaris strike
An ongoing crackdown by Nairobi County askaris on book vendors and shoe shiners has left the traders counting huge losses with other nursing injuries.
A spot check by Nairobi News around the CBD on Friday morning revealed that some of the traders had been arrested and their makeshift stalls vandalized.
One of the book hawker’s partner lamented how the council askaris tore books and harassed a business partner despite them having a valid business permit.
“We had paid the annual fee of Sh5,600 required for a permit but when the askaris came they did not even want to look at our permit. They just started tearing our books, carried the stands and arrested my friend,” said the partner who did not want to be identified for fear of victimization.
Shoe shiners had earlier in the week had their fair share of drama with the askaris as they were arrested and later released on a Sh5,000 fine.
“They did not even explain why they were arresting us yet we had a permit to operate along this lane. We were taken to City Hall where we had to pay the fine to be released,” said a city shoe shiner.
According to a book hawker who is still operating his business on a lane within the CBD, there was a change of guard within the County Council hence the move to kick out some of the vendors.
“They came in the morning but when I showed them my permit and told them that I was not outside anyone’s business or even blocking the street they let me go on with my business. I think they want to reduce the number of hawkers dealing with similar items along the same street or lane,” said the hawker.
On July 12, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero fired top officials in the Inspectorate department in an effort to get rid of hawkers from the city centre.
Dr Kidero sacked the director of Inspector Hillary Wambugu together with five other senior officers at City Hall.