Chaotic hawkers have turned Nairobi into a home of armed robbers

The central command is usually a county van parked at a strategic location

By The Weekly Vision

When the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) took charge of Nairobi a year ago, many city residents looked forward to improved services. NMS under General Badhi was widely expected to clamp down on cartels running teams of hawkers that have congested the city streets.

  • The askaris central command is usually the Nairobi county vans parked at strategic locations on Tom Mboya Street. Any hawker who fails to pay “daily dues” is chased out of town, sometimes for good

But alas, many point out, the opposite is what has happened as NMS appears “not even in control”! “NMS is either on sabbatical leave or is simply incompetent,” many residents told The Weekly Vision. Cartels that Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko kept accusing of undermining him are now laughing all the way to the bank. This website established that City askaris have decisively established an extortion ring in the CBD, collecting money from fruit and vegetable hawkers, shoe shiners and booksellers.

 The askaris central command is usually the Nairobi county vans parked at strategic locations on Tom Mboya Street. Any hawker who fails to pay “daily dues” is chased out of town, sometimes for good. The cartel does not seem to care about the heavy congestion on Nairobi streets, a haven for pickpockets who are also busy at work making kill snatching wallets and phones!

Sonko has blamed a vicious cartel for fighting and eventually removing him from office, saying he had stopped a case in which the county had been paying bursary for “ghost pupils” in the primary school losing up to Kshs 250 million in 5 years!

A hawker said the situation was fast getting out of control challenging the NMS to pull up its socks or quit! President Uhuru Kenyatta had presided over the “peaceful transfer of power” from Sonko to Badhi last year. The President then promised better services to Nairobi residents under Badhi. Sonko has been battling corruption-related cases in court and was barred from the Nairobi county offices which are being treated as a “crime scene”.

But Sonko has blamed a vicious cartel for fighting and eventually removing him from office, saying he had stopped a case in which the county had been paying bursary for “ghost pupils” in the primary school losing up to Kshs 250 million in 5 years! It is this cartel he says which engineered his removal and gave power to NMS. Sonko supporters want the NMS deal revoked and power handed back!

What is happening in Nairobi is pathetic, the city is now dusty with un-swept streets, rotting uncollected garbage, blocked drainage, burst sewers and stinking lanes where street families openly defecate. The re-emergence of criminal gangs on busy city streets is another cause for concern. Residents identified the area around National Archives on Tom Mboya street, and outside the Jogoo house parking lot, as some of the black spots which even DCI has admitted are prone to armed gangs robbing pedestrians.

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