In a move aimed at restoring order and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic within the Central Business District (CBD) of Nairobi, Governor Johnson Sakaja issued a ban on street vending along sidewalks and roads.

The governor’s stern declaration came during a consultative meeting with hawkers, county enforcement officials and executives that was held on Wednesday

Sakaja emphasized that there will be a zero-tolerance approach towards hawkers occupying public thoroughfares.

“There will be no hawking on the road… kutandika vitu kwa barabara, zero, that one we will not have,” the county boss asserted, sending a clear message to vendors who have long encroached on pedestrian walkways and roadways within the CBD.

The ban is set to take effect on Thursday morning. Some of the target spots include Muthurwa bus station, Moi avenue and Tom Mboya streets.

I want to make it clear that on Moi Avenue, there will be no hawking. We have a plan for that area and investors have brought in money. I’m also looking out for the commuters of CBD who use that lane. On hawkers, we have to balance. There is someone who will complain about hawkers while he is wearing a suit from work to fend for his children but because he has had a little challenge accessing a matatu home, he will say these hawkers should not be there. It’s like looking down on someone else’s work. Someone who has decided to earn an honest living instead of becoming a thief,” Sakaja further said.

The ban has been met with mixed reactions from the public and business community. Proponents of the measure argue that it will significantly enhance road safety, ease traffic congestion, and make the CBD more pedestrian-friendly. It is also seen as a step towards aligning Nairobi’s urban landscape with modern standards.

“But people are used to this habit. It should be either no hawkers forever, or hawkers forever. Switching the position one year after elections has been a common thing among past governors,” a twitter user said.

“Hapa even if it’s tough, tuko na wewe. It is very difficult to walk from Kojja to Railways from 4pm along Tom Mboya. It’s like a Mission Impossible.”

Another wrote, “That’s how it should be … let’s not always condone chaotic behaviours in the name of hustling… people can still make sales from wherever they set their small kiosks at.”

Others argued that the move was long over due as others said that he has issued the directive because the King of England is set to visit the country.



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