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Economy

County officers face Sh200,000 fine for harassing hawkers

Nairobi county officers arrest a suspected hawker
Nairobi county officers arrest a hawker. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

National or county government officers found harassing hawkers in designated areas face fines of up to Sh200,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year if a new Bill becomes law.

The Bill proposes that hawkers will not be harassed in an area, place or location designated as such by the relevant county government for the specific use by street vendors and includes a footpath, sidewalk, pavement, embankment, portions of a street, or any such place considered suitable for vending activities and providing services to the general public.

The Senate has proposed further changes to the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood) Bill, 2019 that aims to protect the livelihoods.

“The Bill defines harassment as “conduct or action, which is usually repeated or persistent, that, being directed at a street vendor, alarms, causes substantial emotional distress in that person, damages goods or property and serves no legitimate purpose.”

The proposed law, which comes up for scrutiny at the committee stage tomorrow will provide a legal framework for the recognition, protection and regulation of street vending in Kenya and the identification of minimum standards for street vending.

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If the Bill becomes law, hawkers will be provided with designated vending zones in all the 47 counties. Counties will be demarcated into restriction-free vending zones, restricted vending zones and no-vending zones.

County governments will be required to install essential facilities such as clean water, lighting, security, waste disposal, shades, warehousing and storage, sunshades, paved roads and vehicle parking spaces.

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