Hawkers Threaten to Return to Nakuru Town Streets

By Magdalene Wanja And Reitz Mureithi

Tension is rising in Nakuru town after hawkers threatened to return to the streets.

Residents woke up to a dramatic scenes on Wednesday morning after the hawkers demarcated parking lots along the town’s Kenyatta Avenue, Gusii and Neru Pundit roads, with some writing their names on the tarmac using white chalk.

The hawkers then put pieces of sack on the sections they had demarcated to show seriousness of their intentions.

It was not clear who could be behind the looming return of the hawkers who were driven out of the streets by the county government two years ago.

But the business community in the town suspect a political hand could be behind the turn of events, given that their eviction had been politicised.

CAUGHT UNAWARES

Shop owners in town were caught unawares by the Wednesday morning scenes. Shocked and confused, they stood outside their shops in small groups conversing in low tones.

The battle between the hawkers and the county government has quietly been simmering since January 2015 when they were forcefully evicted from Nakuru Central Business District following a directive issued by Governor Kinuthia Mbugua.

According to the governor, the hawkers’ presence on Nakuru streets created disorder, making it difficult for visitors to navigate their way around the town.

The hawkers were then moved to the bus terminus area where stalls were hurriedly erected and allocated to individuals.

Traders in food produce were taken to the town’s Wakulima market where a temporary structure was established to accommodate them.

CAMPAIGN AGENDA

The hawkers’ eviction quickly formed a campaign agenda for candidates who were seeking various elective posts in the August 8 polls.

Depending on whether one was for or against the eviction of hawkers, two teams were formed.

The opposing team was led by Nakuru East MP David Gikaria and backed by his Nakuru West counterpart Mr Samuel Arama.

Governor Mbugua took reigns of the proposers’ team and was publicly supported by Biashara Ward representative Stephen Kuria.

As news came in on April 27 that Mr Mbugua had lost the Jubilee nomination to Mr Lee Kinyanjui, residents quickly concluded that it was the eviction episode that prematurely killed his political dream.

ANTICIPATED DEFEAT

Vendors in Wakulima and Nacha markets said they had anticipated the defeat as they had vowed to send the governor home.

However, during his campaigns Mr Kinyanjui went on record saying his administration would look into the plight of the hawkers.

During the just concluded Jubilee Party primaries, leaflets warning business owners against nominating Mr Lee Kinyanjui because he ‘intended’ to bring back the hawkers to the streets, were circulated in the town a day before the nominations.

Mr Kinyanjui dismissed the claims terming them as “kicks of a dying horse”.

He said he said he has never made any promises to return the hawkers back to the streets despite being against their forceful eviction.

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Hawkers Threaten to Return to Nakuru Town Streets

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Posted by on May 18 2017. Filed under Kenya. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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