- Over 100 hawkers resist, saying it is their only source of livelihood
- Stall owners had heeded the notice and removed their structures weeks ago
There was drama along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway after over 100 hawkers clashed with anti-riot police at the Gilgil weigh bridge.
Gun shots and tear gas rent the air as police who were evicting the hawkers engaged them in running battles, with 17 suspects arrested.
The eviction comes after the expiry of a one month notice by Kenha to the hawkers to move away from the weigh bridge.
The eviction was met with stiff resistance by the hawkers who said they had no other source of livelihood.
Gilgil OCPD Emmanuel Opuru said the hawkers had been served notice to leave the area but they had ignored it.
He said owners of stalls along the weigh bridge had adhered to the notice and demolished their structures weeks back, thus avoiding a clash with police.
“All those arrested will be arraigned for various charges and as it stands hawking is outlawed along this section of the road,” he said.
One of the hawkers, James Ndirangu, accused Kenha of unfairly targeting them noting that the poor road design was to blame for the perennial traffic.
He said that the decision to close the lane used by heavy trucks around the weigh bridge had contributed to the jam.
“We are been accused of causing jam on this section of the road but this is a lame excuse as we all know that the problem lies with the design of the road,” he said.
However, Kamau Njuguna, a director with the East Africa Chamber of Commerce said there was a bigger problem at the weigh bridge.
“The move to evict the hawkers is a lame excuse as the jam occurs mainly on Fridays and Sundays and not any other day, raising more questions,” he said.
He noted that traders were losing millions of shillings and man-hours due to the snarl-ups terming this as a major set-back to plans to woo more investors to Nakuru.