EDITORIAL: City needs lasting solution

Nairobi City skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nairobi City skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Behind the persistent hawking menace on city streets lies an issue that needs long-term solutions.

That the economy has failed to create adequate job opportunities to absorb most of the labour that our country’s education system is churning out.

Our concern is, however, that instead of leaders seeking lasting solutions to the challenge, there has been a tendency by leaders to offer only kneejerk and short-term reactions.

Running battles that Nairobi residents have witnessed pitting informal traders against City Hall’s askaris can only be dealt with in a structured manner that takes into consideration the interest of all.

Governor Mike Sonko’s latest populist move stating that Nairobi hawkers will not be harassed as they peddle their wares may ring well with voters, but is hard to implement. For one and going by history, askaris are rarely interested in keeping order. To most of them, chasing hawkers is an avenue through which money - most of which they pocket - is made.

Limiting those who operate on Nairobi streets to residents with voter documents is to say the least, unfair and bound to raise discrimination sentiments.

It makes no sense to turn the roads and lanes into open air markets from 2pm as nothing will stop wily hawkers from opening earlier.

What Nairobi and indeed other cities need are long-term solutions that will clear our roads of congestion, be it human or vehicular.