BATTLEFIELD

Sonko should find hawkers a place to do business

In Summary

• As askaris burn calories pursuing hawkers in one street, criminals reign supreme in the next street.

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko.
Governor speaking at Nairobi. Nairobi governor Mike Sonko.
Image: The Star

Every now and then, Nairobi City turns into a battlefield as county askaris engage hawkers in running battles. The situation is worse in the evenings. The standard aftermath is strewn pairs of shoes here and an assortment of fruits there.

Breastfeeding mothers are not spared from the wrath of this dreaded squad either. As if the askaris were created like Adam and Eve and not given birth to by women, they unperturbedly manhandle the breastfeeding mothers, narrowly falling short of hurting the innocent babies.

Ironically, as the askaris burn calories pursuing the hawkers from one street to the other, whom-mind you-are out there to earn a living decently, a gang of muggers and cell phone snatchers will be on an adjacent street terrorising pedestrians and passengers aboard matatus on their way home.

If a pedestrian does not have ordinary muggers to deal with, then, they will have a family of street children, whose number in the CBD is burgeoning by the day, to deal with.

Well, I am not sure if the city county has jurisdiction on matters crime but it should have its priorities right by first ridding the busiest city in East Africa of muggers, cell phone snatchers and street families before bundling a breastfeeding mother, and her only source of income, out of the streets. The manner in which these askaris arrest the hawkers is beastly and the most inhuman to state the least.

That hawking is a big headache for the Sonko-led county is not in dispute. However, the governor and his team should expedite the process of finding these small businessmen and women a space to operate from. As a matter of fact, when properly taken care of, the very hawkers could be the next big source of county revenue.

The county government should also establish a close working partnership with other law enforcement agencies such as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to rein on criminals who spell terror on innocent people in the city.  

When these measures are put in place, Governor Mike Sonko shall indeed have made Nairobi great again at the end of his term.