Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko has said that the county has identified Mwariro Market in Kariokor as a permanent place to relocate hawkers who have invaded the central business district.
The new development comes in the backdrop of a statement by the governor last week that the county had begun plans to relocate the hawkers from the city centre before the end of November amidst public outcry over the recent flooding of the small scale traders into the streets of Nairobi.
Mr Sonko said that plans were underway to transform the market located in Kariokor to have the capacity to host most of the hawkers in an effort geared towards controlling the influx of the small scale traders in the city centre.
He said the new move is part of his pledge to make sure the hawkers are relocated out of the CBD before the end of November.
“My administration has a comprehensive plan to ensure hawkers’ interests are taken care of. As a long-term measure, my administration has identified Mwariro Market to be transformed into a hawkers’ market,” Mr Sonko said on Wednesday.
The governor also said that his administration has set in motion a plan to acquire the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) building located along Haile Selassie Avenue and transform it into a hawkers’ market.
However, Mr Sonko said that the relocation process will be humane, pointing out that his administration is working on means to ensure a progressive relocation of the hawkers to designated streets and lanes where they can freely do their businesses without obstructing other people as well as other business owners.
While defending his administration against accusations that it has failed to promptly deal with the menace, Mr Sonko said that he should be given time to deal with the problem, arguing that he has been in office for only two months.
“I have been in office for only two months and had to put things in order first. Kazi tutachapa (we will deliver),” he said.
At the same time, Governor Sonko alleged that the issue of the relocation of hawkers had been politicised to the disadvantage of the hawkers whom he said are also tax payers like any other Kenyan.
“Nairobians must know that the relocation of hawkers from the CBD has been politicised by those seeking mileage and political relevance to the disadvantage of the hawkers who are tax payers like any other Kenyan,” Mr Sonko said.
He defended the hawkers from public condemnation, saying that they also contribute to the country’s GDP through their economic activities that they have generated employment in the informal sector.
“Hawking is one of the economic activities that provide employment in the urban informal sector and offers self-employment to hundreds and contributes to the gross domestic product. Consequently, their relocation must be handled with soberness,” said the governor.