•Several hawkers complained that shutting them down would sink them into debt and they would be unable to cater for their families.
•The first group of police officers arrived at the scene of the demonstrations and disbursed the hawkers peacefully.
Police officers have been forced to lob teargas to disperse hawkers demonstrating in Machakos town after the county ordered them not to operate along the streets.
The hawkers claimed that the decision was made without considering them and they want Governor Wavinya Ndeti to give them a specific time to hawk their goods and services or allocate them a specific place to do so.
“We were excluded in that meeting and our opinion didn’t matter. We want her to meet us and talk to us, the market centre is too small for all of us. Let her give us time or a place to trade,” Machakos county hawker Francis Gatumo said.
The first group of police officers arrived at the scene of the demonstrations and disbursed the hawkers peacefully.
However, the hawkers were adamant to leave and the second group of police officers came in and lobbed teargas to disburse them.
The officers were joined by the county government officers who helped to disburse the hawkers and clear traffic that was building up in town.
Gatumo claimed that their woes heightened after Governor Ndeti met Machakos market traders on Tuesday.
“The governor was incited yesterday in a meeting with the Machakos market centre traders after they held demonstrations. These traders told her that hawkers are the ones preventing them from making their sales in the market,” Gatumo said.
The demonstrations saw some shops closed as business owners were afraid of the eventualities.
Several hawkers complained that shutting them down would sink them into debt and they would be unable to cater for their families.
“I have been a hawker in Machakos for the past 20 years. We had previously been given orders that hawkers should be trading from 5 pm which we have been abiding by," Machakos hawker Nicholas Makuthi said.
"What worries us is the fact that they have said there shouldn’t be hawkers in these streets at all not even in the evening. We have children and bills to pay and we need food and school fees.
"We want the governor to give us the exact time for us to be trading and we will abide by it, If not we will not be silent. We will keep demonstrating. She definitely can’t employ us all."