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January 20, 2019

City assembly throws out motion seeking to allow hawkers in downtown backstreets

Hawkers selling their property at National Archives./Ezekiel Aming'a
Hawkers selling their property at National Archives./Ezekiel Aming'a

The Nairobi county assembly has rejected a motion that sought to turn downtown backstreets into hawking zones.

The MCAs on Thursday said markets will be empty, while crime and congestion would increase. Zimmerman MCA Pius Mbono wanted the underutilised small streets allocated to hawkers from 5pm to 5am. He said this would generate revenue, as the hawkers would pay fees.

His colleagues disagreed and said the proposal would only work in the future when the markets become congested. Nominated MCA Millicent Jagero said matatus, street children and criminals already occupy the backstreets. Kariokor’s Millicent Mugadi said a number of market projects are ongoing and hawkers will be relocated once they are completed.

Baba Dogo MCA Geoffrey Majiwa (former mayor) said it won’t be a good legacy for Governor Mike Sonko. “Our governor has a good vision. We don’t want him to leave a legacy of a hawking city,” he said.

In November, Sonko restricted hawkers from operating in the CBD following a public outcry over their influx. They still, however, go to the streets from 5pm. City askaris control their movements.

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