Hawk­ers and mall own­ers row takes tribal and po­lit­i­cal twist

DP Ruto has re­port­edly bro­kered a deal be­tween the hawk­ers, the mall own­ers and the Nairobi gov­ern­ment to have City Hall pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive mar­ket for the ven­dors

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Nairobi - JULIUS OTIENO @juliu­so­tieno04

The row pitting hawk­ers and mall own­ers over mar­ket space in Eastleigh has taken a tribal and po­lit­i­cal twist, af­ter the ven­dors protested against the in­volve­ment of DP Wil­liam Ruto.

The DP re­port­edly bro­kered a deal be­tween the hawk­ers, mall own­ers and the Nairobi gov­ern­ment to have City Hall pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive mar­ket to the traders. The hawk­ers were re­moved from the streets af­ter the mall own­ers com­plained they had blocked en­tries to their premises, hurt­ing their busi­nesses.

In the meet­ing chaired by Ruto and re­port­edly at­tended by Gover­nor Evans Kidero, it was agreed the hawk­ers be re­lo­cated to the for­mer Nyayo wards in Pumwani.

A source, how­ever, told the Star the hawk­ers, mainly from one com­mu­nity, re­jected the of­fer and now blame Ruto for their evic­tion. The hawk­ers ac­cused Ruto of med­dling in a mat­ter “that does not con­cern him.”

Yes­ter­day, Eastleigh Hawk­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Jeff Oteba said they met the DP at his Haram­bee House An­nex of­fice on Oc­to­ber 2, and agreed they be re­lo­cated to the Nyayo wards.

He de­nied the eth­nic an­gle. “Yes, the meet­ing was held and we at­tended. The county told us to give them a week to re­vamp the place but to date, noth­ing has hap­pened. That is why we have been protest­ing,” Oteba said.

Trade ex­ec­u­tive Anne Othoro said the traders have re­jected two mar­kets. “We gave them a mar­ket in Pumwani and they re­jected it. We of­fered them Muthurwa, but they also re­jected it,” she said.

“What do they want us to do? What we have said is that they will not be al­lowed back on the streets. Roads in Eastleigh are not for hawk­ers.”

Yes­ter­day, riot po­lice dis­persed the hawk­ers, who had con­verged for protests. The hawk­ers have been demon­strat­ing since Septem­ber, when they were kicked out of the streets and their struc­tures de­mol­ished.

/ENOS TECHE

Riot po­lice pa­trol Eastleigh on Septem­ber 2, af­ter mall own­ers closed their shops for what they said was in­ter­fer­ence by hawk­ers

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