Hawkers from Burundi flood Nairobi city streets with shoes selling at friendly prices

Local hawkers cry foul over prices

By The Weekly Vision

Hawkers from the tiny central African country of Burundi have flooded the crowded streets of Nairobi with trendy second hand male shoes. Pedestrians regard the shoe prices as affordable, something that is almost pushing local hawkers out of business.

Locals are now crying foul appealing for protection from the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry. An official from the chamber waved aside the complaints in an interview with The Weekly Vision saying Kenya is a liberalized market with sellers and buyers having an equal opportunity to operate.

“The choice of prices and quality,” he said remains the option of the customer who does not care which country the seller comes from. Hawkers from Bujumbura are fluent in Swahili and say they have taken advantage of the East African Cooperation spirit of a border-less region to ship in shoes.

Male shoes retail from Kshs 500 to Kshs 2500 a pair , the hawkers praised President Uhuru Kenyatta for opening up borders to regional trade saying back home “business space is too tight”

The shoes retail from Kshs 500 to Kshs 2500 a pair, the hawkers praised President Uhuru Kenyatta for opening up borders to regional trade saying back home “business space is too tight” in the tiny Bujumbura.

The same was said of the tiny city of Kigali whose economy can be compared to that of the Eastleigh suburb in Nairobi. The Rwandese have not been left behind as a spot check by this writer established that many have pitched a tent in barbershops in the CBD and Eastlands. “They have blended well with wananchi as they speak good Swahili”, said a shopkeeper in Donholm.

Nairobi is also host to Nigerians, Ghanaians, and immediate western neighbours Uganda and Tanzania. According to the UN refugee agency, many Ugandans who were living in camps in the 1970s and 1980s have since returned home after normalcy returned to Kampala.

But some Ugandan businessmen in Nairobi expressed fears about the post-Museveni political transition in Kampala. They said the Ugandan leader in power since 1986 had failed to appreciate that as a “mortal” he will one day not be around. They said he had refused to chart a road map for his exit and peaceful transfer of power like Kenya and Tanzania.

Hawking in Nairobi’s CBD has largely been a cat and mouse game pitting county askaris and an army of hawkers. The askaris backed by police firing tear gas have kept engaging in running battles with the local hawkers selling anything from household cutlery to clothes, shoes, and fresh produce like vegetables and fruits.

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