31 October, 2007

Nairobi-City Within A Market

When the Narc Government took power in 2002 an all out campaign to rid Nairobi city off hawkers was commenced with great vigor and determination by both civic authorities and the Kenya Police. For a most part of the Kibaki administration the city was a glowing gem with the presence of albeit few to almost no hawkers. Security and movement of citizens was at a prime and the beauty of the city was restored. That has changed drastically!

For the past two weeks from around four p.m in the evening, masses of hawkers like a plague of locust have thronged the city streets bringing human traffic almost to a stand still due to the overcrowding. The city can aptly be said to a city within a market! With the prelude to elections on December 27th 2007, a sinister attempt has been made to bribe hawkers for their votes. With a former Nairobi mayor eluding that allowing hawker’s back to the street is a ploy to garner votes.

As a parent I am concerned with the kind of morals are being imparted to the youth, children and nation as a whole by virtue of such acts or apparent inaction by the authorities. It is apparently open that the unbridled spirit of competition at all costs has been let loose. The prevailing philosophy being one should do all that he can including subverting and breaking his own principles as long as they get what the want. Elections must be won at all costs despite backtracking on any gains that may have been made. This will be replicated in the upcoming generations leading to violence and short cut measures to get what one wants at all cost and shortest time and we always wonder what has gone wrong. It’s important to note that we lead by example.

And that is the folly of human leadership! No wonder more than two thousand years ago the wise man Jeremiah under inspiration of the holy spirit wrote at Jer 10:12 “it does not belong to man who is walking to direct his own step” the gist of that statement is that man was simply created not to lead himself and as such he cannot lead others. Frequently his incapacity to lead others is manifested by acts of violence, strife, hatred, ethnicity, murder, lack of ethics etc

While indeed hawkers have a right to earn a living! Time and again when allocated places of operation they have simply declined to use the allocated zones. Their crowding the city centre frequently results in increase in violence and theft since many thieves masquerade amidst the crowded streets and use opportune moments to snatch, pickpocket or even strangle their victims in their attempt at stealing. By allowing the hawkers back into the city without designated lanes and a modus operandi the interests of the everyday nairobian has been periled at the altar of vote seeking.

At the same time the hawker’s plight for affair share of the market will be short lived since once the authorities are elected back into power the daily battles between the city council Askaris, the police and hawkers will resume with loss of innocent lives in the skirmishes. But who cares anyway!

We simply must not forget the injustices and the value of life that results due to faulty policies. For the Nairobi hawkers it may be the proverbial two months of honeymoon and four and a half years of hell. With the political leadership hoping to ride on the ignorance, forgetfulness and hunger of the hawkers.

Simply put even if the hawkers are allowed to operate within the city the same must not be an attempt at getting votes but should be under well laid out and thought out plans that adequately cater for the continued development of the city, enhanced security and benefit of the citizenry by and large!

1 comment:

  1. Hawkers are back to remind us its campaign time and turned Nairobi streets into a market. If this is the means some politicians use to get votes then such politicians deserve no ones vote. The government should have completed the market next to Wakulima market by now and housed hawkers there to avoid this shame on Nairobi streets. The only problem is wanainchi will not complain much about it because hawkers will sell cheaper stuff compared to those in the shops. Its sad but somehow hawkers are a great relief to the common mwananchi who is suffering because of high cost of living.

    Interesting blog, I will link it on my blog.



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