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Hawkers decry intimidation by council askaris

03 July 2014, 17:30 Mike Munga

Nairobi - Hawkers have protested the use of excessive force by city council askaris while driving them out of Nairobi’s central business area where most of them carry out their businesses.

Speaking in Nairobi Thursday, the hawkers said the intimidation by council askaris is becoming brutal and treacherous. They said measures should be taken to avert the killings made by the city council askaris.

“The intimidation is becoming violent and dangerous hence action should be taken to avert the killings made by city council askaris. Nowadays they are carrying broken bottles and knives when chasing us. As we are speaking, four people have fallen victims of their brutality and have either died or are critically injured,” said Moses Mutiso, a hawker.

They were protesting against the arrest of James Kang’ethe, a hawker who was arrested doing his business within a prohibited area Tuesday evening. He was arraigned in court Thursday where he admitted to the charges and was fined KES 2 000 which the hawkers were busy raising in order to secure his release.

James Mwangi, a hawker and friend of Kang'ethe wondered what they should do for a living as hawking is what sustains them in Nairobi.

“City council has given us hard time. Whenever we do business, they arrest us. If we opt steal, I am sure they will arrest us too,” he said.

According to him, flower beds within the CBD should be uprooted to create space for them as existing markets are already filled up.

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