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February 23, 2019

Lack of enough staff hampers clearance of hawkers from streets, City Hall says

Hawkers sell their wares on Accra Road on April 12 /COLLINS KWEYU
Hawkers sell their wares on Accra Road on April 12 /COLLINS KWEYU

Shortage of staff continues to paralyze operations seeking to drive away hawkers from the Central Business District

City Hall's Operations chief officer Peter Mbaya said the department is still short of staff and the few available work tirelessly to keep off hawkers from the streets.

He explained to the Star yesterday that the Inspectorate department was controlling and managing four operations at the same time; hawkers, bodabodas ,PSVs and demolitions of illegal structures whereby the same askaris are involved which can result to fatigue.

Early in March this year,City Hall held recruitment exercise at Kasarani Stadium where over 10,000 candidates participated.

It was expected the county would employ 1,000 askaris who would undergo training then eventually be posted in different departments to boost up operations in various departments, however such has not taken place.

"Today(Monday) I have patrolled along Kenyatta and Moi Avenue, Tom Mboya Street and, River and Kirinyaga roads from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon and have only come across less than 10 hawkers," Mbaya said.

Hakwers are believed to still be within the CBD conducting their usual operations.

During the day,the stretch between globe round about and Fire station is usually occupied by hawkers.

However, Mbaya acknowledged that at night the hawkers flock in the streets especially along Tom Mboya but the officers try to maintain them from spreading across other streets.

He said it is usually a chase and run situation between the hawkers and the askaris especially in the evening evening hours.

City has also crackdown has also extended outside CBD and around 80 hawkers operating in undesignated places in Lavington and Kawangware areas have been arrested.

Last year in November Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said he had started talks with the hawkers representatives ahead of his government's plans to relocate them from the CBD.

However, Nairobi Hawkers’ Association chairman Waweru Kimani told the Star yesterday that since then they have not been consulted again on the relocation plans.

"We have not received further communication on the relocation plans and we are not aware when we will be relocated,"Waweru said.

"We are only aware that there are new markets being constructed inn order to accommodate the around 8,000 hawkers but even the representatives have not been taken to view them," he added.

According to Waweru the chase and run between the hawkers and askaris are a normal daily routine.

"Its either one is arrested and taken to city Hall court, one is arrested and kept in the van until agrees to pay a fine, or the commodities are carried into the van upon which the trader has to follow up," Waweru said.

He urged City Hall to communicate and update hawkers on the progress of plans to relocate them from the CBD.

Last month, the Nairobi county assembly rejected a motion that sought to turn downtown backstreets into hawking zones.


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