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Torture and ill-treatment of hawkers, small-scale traders still rife in Nairobi

11 December 2014, 12:22 Mike Munga

Nairobi - Small-scale businessmen and hawkers carrying their activities within Nairobi County are still vulnerable to torture from council askaris, the report released today by the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Nairobi indicates.

The report dubbed ‘A Cry for Justice’ states that persons in the age group of 60 and above experienced 15.4 percent of beatings.

Those in the age bracket of 46-60 recorded 3.8 percent, 6.4 percent for those in 36-45 age bracket, 5.1 percent for people in 26-35 age bracket group and 6.1 percent for those in age group of 18-25 years.

Men were the most affected, recording 6.6 percent beatings while women recorded 4.4 percent.

The report states that hawkers operating in the CBD are the most vulnerable, followed closely by those operating in Ngara area.

Read Also: Kidero summoned over hawkers’ harassment

Te study shows that County askaris are the top perpetrators of beating at 91.6 percent while regular police take 7.1 percent.

The report further reveals that 52 percent of the shootings were done by police while County askaris recorded 46.7 percent.

The Nairobi CBD experienced 18 counts of beatings by the city council askaris in the year ending 2013 followed closely by Ngara at 8, Kayole 4, Kangemi 4, Kibera 1 and Kawangware 0 respectively.

Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday during the launch of the report, Morris Odhiambo, a consultant with Kumekucha Africa Consultant said that the high cases of beatings in the CBD are as a result of prohibition of hawking in the area and many parts of the CBD are lucrative areas of trade.

“There are many businesses in the CBD, hence clashes between licensed and unlicensed, big and small businesses. The proximity of the CBD to City Hall, particularly the Inspectorate, and some of the main police stations in the city, also contribute to this,” he explained.

Odhiambo noted that persons living with disabilities recorded a higher proportion of beatings than able-bodied persons.

“Out of 49 interviewed, seven had experienced beatings, representing 14.3 percent against 8.6 percent for the able-bodied.

He noted that only 78 traders (12.6 percent) reported cases of torture with a majority (24.6 percent) saying they did not know where to report. Those who feared repeat of victimization stood at (22.5 percent) while 21 percent of respondents saw reporting as a waste of time while another 4.5 percent did not report because they did not have work permits.

The survey recommends a multi agency approach where National government, County government and civil society to come together and share ideas on how to resolve the conflicts.

The study was conducted in the CBD, Ngara, Kayole, Kibera, Kawangware and Kangemi. A total of 586 randomly selected hawkers and small scale business operators were interviewed comprising 371 (63.3%) hawkers and 215 (36.7%) small-scale business operators.

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- MyNews24

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