Hawkers protest evacuation

Scores of hawkers and roadside traders recently banned from operating within Machakos town CBD are up in arms against the County Government over the move.

The traders, who have virtually been rendered jobless, are now asking the devolved unit to find an alternative place for them to carry out their businesses.

Some of the traders who spoke to the press on Tuesday also accused officers from the County Inspectorate Department of harassing and imposing hefty fines on them after confiscating their goods.

They now want the government to stop further harassment and allow them to continue with their trade which they claimed was their only source of livelihood.

One of the affected traders who sought anonymity called for dialogue between the hawkers and county administration so as to help resolve the matter which she said, had cost them hundreds of shillings.

The County officials have been harassing and taking away our merchandise before slapping us with exorbitant fines that are way beyond what we earn from our businesses .Even after pleading with them to return our goods, they never do so, she claimed.

She said their numerous appeals to the county administrators to sort out the matter have fallen on deaf ears as nothing has been resolved at the moment, including setting aside of an alternative place where they could do their businesses.

But contacted for comment, Machakos town administrator Jonathan Makau said traders would not be allowed to sell their wares on undesignated areas as this was against the stipulated by laws.

He said allowing traders to operate within the corridors and streets of the town’s CBD was tantamount to turning it into a communal playground with no laid down regulations.

Hawking is not allowed within CBD and town streets and this is the sole reason we are discouraging people from operating from there. These businesspeople were also becoming a health risk by hawking unlicensed food to residents which could easily lead to disease outbreaks unless regulated, he explained.

However, Makau said the government was working on a plan to have the traders located to an alternative place where they could earn their living.

The administrator further said the crackdown was not solely directed on the hawkers, but also public service vehicles that had a tendency of picking and dropping passengers at undesignated places.

Source: Kenya News Agency