Hawker menace in CBD, litmus test for Governor Sonko

A section of Accra road in the city centre. []

Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko is staring at a daunting task ahead in addressing hawkers menace in the city centre.

Since he got to office, hawkers have had a field day in the streets of Nairobi and along pavements.

They are hiving the city from morning to late night unlike in the past when they would turn up in the evening.

This is in full glare of county inspectorate officers who are now under new authority.

They are spread across the busiest streets of Nairobi- Tom Mboya, Moi Avenue, River Road, Accra Road, Aga Khan Walk and Ronald Ngala.

Jane Wairimu, a street vendor near the Kenya Archives pleaded with the new county boss to understand their plight and they be allowed to operate.

“We have to work because we don’t want to steal and we are begging Sonko to please understand us because life has to continue,” said Wairimu as quoted by the Star.

And in his campaign manifesto, Sonko highlighted he would deal with the hawkers menace in a diplomatic way.

He said unlike his predecessor’s government, Evans Kidero where a handful of hawkers were maimed and killed by inspectorate officers, he will address the issue through dialogue and consultation.

His idea was to have some street close in the evening and the street vendors display their wares there.

“We will not harass the hawkers, we will not kill them. We will be opening up some streets on specific days for the hawkers to ensure they do not operate everywhere in the CBD,” said Sonko.

He pledged to build new markets for hawkers and also renovate existing ones to accommodate them.

By Pharis Kinyua. He’s an online journalist and an author for Jamhuri News.