Nairobi News


Sonko faulted for allowing hawkers in city centre

By COLLINS OMULO October 27th, 2017 2 min read

The move by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to allow hawkers into the city centre has elicited mixed reactions.

The governor announced last week that the hawkers would officially be allowed access to the central business district as early as 2 pm to sell their wares.

The move was informed by a report that was unveiled by the county on how to deal with the hawking problem in the city centre.


In a city centre already grappling with the pressure of street families and traffic congestion, the development has come as a surprise to residents, shop and stall owners, who termed the move populist and a step backwards for the city.

Those who own shops and stalls pay between Sh9,500 and Sh13, 700 in licence fees annually on top of other fees.

Mr Charles Muchemi, a shop owner on Kirinyaga Road, criticised the governor for allowing the hawkers in the city centre.

He said the hawkers were disruptive and had made traders who pay licence fees to the county incur losses. He added that the hawkers were blocking shops and their presence had resulted in crime incidents such as pick pocketing due to congestion.


Mr Ashok Kuldal, who owns a shop at the CBD, said the move did not make sense and that the only solution was to have permanent spaces for the hawkers away from CBD.

Another trader, Ms Beatrice Ngige, said the county should instead build permanent stalls for the hawkers and relocate them instead of putting time limits for them because they will not adhere to the directive.

She added that some hawkers were selling their wares at cheap prices. “They have made us suffer losses as they sell the same things we sell but at a lower price as theirs are of low quality,” she said.

Mr Dan Momanyi, who works at the city centre, said: “Sonko promised a lot of things yet nothing has been accomplished. Allowing hawkers in the CBD will make things worse. Right now moving around the city is very hard.”

However, hawkers welcomed the decision, saying it would allow them to operate without harassment from city askaris.


“This is our source of livelihood. We do not have anywhere to go,” said a hawker who identified herself as Mama Mwende.

Another hawker, Mr Jayson Nzeva, lauded the move but averred that it would even have been better if they were allowed access to the CBD as early as 11 am.

Interestingly, the hawkers had already spread their wares in various alleys and streets as early as 10 am, four hours before the allowed time of operation.