Re­mov­ing hawk­ers not the so­lu­tion

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - OPINION - AL­NASHIR D WALJI, Nairobi

I to­tally dis­agree with the peo­ple call­ing for the re­moval of hawk­ers from Nairobi’s cen­tral busi­ness district, where they try to eke out an hon­est liv­ing. Throw­ing out the hawk­ers with­out con­sid­er­ing their plight would be tan­ta­mount to deny­ing them their con­sti­tu­tional right to earn a liv­ing. Un­less these peo­ple en­gage in crimes, they should be left alone to do their hon­est busi­ness. This is more so if the wares they sell have been legally ob­tained.

Many of those ped­dling var­i­ous prod­ucts in the city cen­tres come from the less-priv­i­leged class and tar­get­ing them for re­moval is giv­ing them a fur­ther raw deal.

The gov­ern­ment of the day should en­sure that these hawk­ers, who are ac­tu­ally their vot­ers, earn a liv­ing in a dig­ni­fied man­ner. Clearly, many of them live on the brink of ‘poverty’, which should be al­le­vi­ated.

En­gag­ing hawk­ers in run­ning bat­tles with the city askaris and po­lice is not al­ways a pretty sight. Isn’t it time a bazaar

(In­dian shop­ping mall/fa­cil­ity) was es­tab­lished in Nairobi so that hawk­ers are not ejected from the prime lo­ca­tion. Earn­ing a liveli­hood is an in­alien­able right that must be pro­tected.

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