Nairobi City County Government Governor His Excellency Johnson Sakaja has laid blame on the Nairobi County Chief Officer in-charge of Security, Enforcement and Compliance Tony Michael Kimani over the mismanagement of hawkers operating within the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).
Speaking to Inooro TV during the popular Sunday evening political talk show Kiririmbi, hosted by Michael Njega and Nderitu Wa Ihura, Sakaja said that his administration recognizes the small enterprises of hawkers which put food on the tables of thousands of hawkers in the CBD and that he has no intentions of evicting them.
The Governor said that to ensure that the CBD is decongested without driving hawkers out of business, his administration has designated 29 back street lanes for hawkers and only the enforcement Chief Officer Kimani can drive them out as he has been bringing back the traditional running battles between hawkers and county officers which the Sakaja administration has purposed to put to an end.
“These hawkers have been on the streets for years. Now we have made 29 back street lanes for then to operate from so that even the shop owners have their space to operate and it is only Tony Kimani who can force them out. He has been frustrating our efforts to end running battles with the hawkers yet I put him there, as one of their own, from their community to ensure that their plight is taken care of,” Sakaja said.
Assuring hawkers that they are at liberty to work, Sakaja recognized that hawkers businesses are legitimate and promised that the back street lanes are only a small step towards the bigger plan to build big markets in Nairobi which will accommodate most of the hawkers.
“Everybody’s job is important because it feeds their families. Kimani has been bringing back the running battles with hawkers but I want to assure them that the position of my administration is that we recognize their hustles unlike other regimes over the years and we are building 12 new markets to expand business but to start with, we cannot build markets in one year so we have 29 streets designated for hawkers fitted with roofs and electricity and we have enumerated them so they are free to work,” Sakaja said.
Tony Kimani has in the recent weeks been in all bad books after it emerged that he has been frustrating the Governor’s work from harassment of hawkers to running parallel enterprise in Eastleigh and the CBD where he has allocated himself open spaces which he leases to businesses and charges the cess fees, money which ends up in his pockets denying the county government revenue.
Hawkers in the CBD have been an unhappy lot with their treatment, arrests, and confiscation of goods which is led by the enforcement officers under instructions from Kimani. The Governor expressed disappointment in Kimani during then Inooro TV talk show stating that he appointed him to ensure the welfare of traders and hawkers in Nairobi County’s Central Business District are taken care of but Kimani has spearheaded the harassment of the traders.