Counties

Nyeri County to evict roadside traders over congestion

Nyeri residents throng a hawkers market along Gakere road in Nyeri town. FILE Photo | NMG
Nyeri residents throng a hawkers market along Gakere road in Nyeri town. FILE Photo | NMG 

Nyeri traders operating illegal kiosks built on road reserves have been give notice of eviction by the County Government as it tries to address congestion in major towns.

The mushrooming kiosks in Nyeri and Karatina towns have blocked major roads thus making them impassable.

County Executive in charge of Transport and Infrastructure, Muthui Kariuki, on Thursday warned traders that askaris would forcibly evict them if they did not comply with the directive.

“To save yourself from losses that will arise from demolishing, remove your goods and your kiosks. Do not let anybody mislead you that we will not remove them,” he said today.

The exercise, he said, will pave way for rehabilitation and re-carpeting of most roads within the county.

The devolved unit has already started marking stalls built on pedestrian pavements that will be set for demolishing.

Chaotic

“They are pushing children to use the tarmac road exposing them to risks of being hit by vehicles. It has also become difficult for our teams to respond to disaster,” Mr Kariuki said.

The executive says the devolved unit is working to reclaim roads that had been made impassable to create more parking space and allow free flow of traffic in busy towns.

Hawkers in Nyeri town have been accused of turning the central business district in to a chaotic market in the evenings.

They begin laying out their wares at 5 p.m. once county askaris have retired for the day and block major streets making them impassable.

They also occupy parking lots making it difficult for motorists to find space for their vehicles near the main markets.

Motorist prefer leaving their cars uptown and instead walk to the supermarkets for fear that they will be caught up in traffic snarl ups created by matatus and hawkers.

Residents on foot are also forced to squeeze their way through congested streets in the evenings, especially those leading to the three main bus termini.

Alternatives

Recently, while attending the launch of a clean-up drive, the traders' representative Maina Kamai asked the county to issue them with business permits since the previous regime had denied them.

Kamukunji market traders have previously urged the county to set aside funds to aid in purchase of land and construction of a market to accommodate hawkers.

“We urge the committee to allocate funds for the purchase of land in order to construct a new market and also address the issue of mushrooming businesses in the streets,” the traders indicated in a memorandum.

This isn't the first traders have been threatened with eviction. In 2013, the government issued a notice for them to vacate the streets Nyeri town failure to which their business stalls would be demolished.

The hawkers then staged demonstrations that were supported by two MPs and defied the orders, forcing the county to rescind its decision.

The small business people who comprise vegetable vendors, food sellers and hawkers said they had been going about their trade in the streets for over 20 years and that any attempt to evict them would be met with resistance.