• Earlier this month, City Hall had invited the public to give their views on hawking within the CBD.
•During campaigns, Governor Sakaja pledged to prioritise addressing the plight of hawkers.
Hawkers will be allowed to operate for five hours nightly in the Central Business District in the city centre.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja revealed his county government will allow the hawkers to operate from 5pm to 10pm
“Under my my leadership, one thing I will allow is hawkers operating in the CBD area and they will be allowed from exactly 5pm to 10pm,” he said.
Sakaja said had his reservations about the rough way the county had dealt with hawkers.
“The way we deal with hawkers is not by engaging in running battles every other day. Hawkers are part of the private business community and contribute to the economy,” he said.
Earlier this month, City Hall had invited the public to give their views on hawking within the CBD.
In a Gazette notice dated October 14, Nairobi county secretary Jairus Musumba invited all interested parties, including hawkers, to give their views in scheduled meetings.
"In this respect, the Nairobi city county government invites interested stakeholders for public participation and consultation on informal trading within Nairobi's CBD,” Musumba said.
The engagements will be held on November 3 and 4 at City Hall’s Charter House.
Invitees include consumer associations, special interest groups, community-based organisations, business owners within the CBD, private and public sector representatives.
During campaigns, Governor Sakaja pledged that he would prioritise addressing the harsh treatment of hawkers in the city.
Musumba assured the business community in Nairobi he would bring to an end the hardships they experience in their work.
The hawker menace in the CBD has been a problem the previous administrations failed to decisively deal with.
Their handling of hawkers was a weak link that critics used to highlight administrative failures of past county governments.
With Sakaja at the helm, the hawker menace is still a big headache, particularly in the evening when the traders occupy all the walkways. They leave pedestrians to battle it out with vehicles on the main streets.
This causes confusion and traffic congestion.
First Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero blamed what he called cartels at City Hall for the hawker troubles.
He accused former councillors and MPs of pushing for their return to the CBD every time the county government pushed them off the streets.
His successor Mike Sonko promised to organise hawkers within the first 100 days of his administration.
The plan was to register all the hawkers, small-scale business owners and traders with a view to recognise, protect and enable them to operate in the city.
The strategy backfired and hawkers have ever since remained troublesome and a permanent fixture on Nairobi streets.
(Edited by V. Graham)