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Hawkers decry selective arrests and intimidation from city inspectorate officers


Oct 4, 2023

A video which went viral showing Nairobi City County inspectorate officers brutally arresting and confiscating wares of physically challenged hawkers in the Nairobi Central Business District has had a section of hawkers up in arms.

The video showed city askaris, commonly referred to as ‘Kanjo’ harassing the hawkers, primarily women living with disabilities, and taking away their goods amid bitter cries from the hawkers even as hawkers in other areas of the CBD continue with their businesses as usual.

The hawkers are now wondering what the criteria used to identify those to be arrested and those to continue operating is even as Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has maintained that hawkers are free to operate and should not be removed pending the completion of the construction of 29 back street lanes which the county government is constructing to be used by hawkers for their businesses.

They questioned why some hawkers in the CBD received preferential treatment during raids while city inspectorate officers confiscate their goods during raids and these goods are never returned after the hawkers have been arraigned in the city court and fined.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has been at the front line through the Department of Trade to ensure the county constructs decent shades for hawkers in select back streets with the intention of centralizing them in hawking trade districts and has said that they will not be removed from the streets until the 29 back streets are complete for business.


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