City 'Kanjo' askaris on the spot for manhandling female hawker

Nairobi South Member of County Assembly Waithera Chege. [File, Standard]

City County Inspectorate officers commonly known as Kanjo are on the spot over alleged brutal attacks on hawkers in Nairobi.

The County Assembly has now raised concerns over the return to the old habit where the askaris attacked hawkers on the city streets.

A recent case was captured in a video where some inspectorate officers were seen manhandling a disabled hawker on the streets.

And now Nairobi South Member of County Assembly Waithera Chege in a request of statement, argued that there is increasing harassment and extortion of hawkers by County askaris.

“There are increasing cases of arbitrary arrests, harassment, and extortion of hawkers by the city inspectorate. This is infringing on the rights and fundamental freedom of residents,” Waithera stated.

She wants the assembly Justice and Legal Affairs committee to probe and table a report over the assault of the hawker.

“There is a video circulating where a hawker was arguing with an officer of the city inspectorate in uniform as some officers in civilian attire manhandle a hawker who seemed disabled,” Wiathera told the House.

She wants the Committee to among other issues, table a report on measures the Johnson Sakaja administration is taking to cease the infamous, ruthless handling of residents and traders by the City Inspectorate Officers.

In response, the Justice and Legal Committee asked for two weeks to look into the matter and come up with a comprehensive report on the allegations.

Just before the 2022 elections a hawker who was roughed up by Nairobi City County askaris agreed to an out-of-court settlement.

The man who sells socks along Tom Mboya Street opted to withdraw the case in court after three county officers accused of attacking him, offered Sh427,200 compensation.

The three County askaris who assaulted Anthony Maina accepted personal liability jointly for assault on the trader and offered a monetary settlement. During the scuffle, the trader lost his tooth.

The hawker was awarded Sh300,000 for the loss and damage of five teeth at Sh60,000 each, another Sh56,000 for a broken jaw connection, Sh37,800 for food, Sh15,000 for rent, Sh14,400 for clinic visits and Sh4,000 for transport.

The hawker was plying his trade when he was accosted by the county askaris who demanded a Sh100 bribe. Unfortunately, he only had Sh20, which they reportedly declined saying it was too little.

In 2022, while still in the Senate, Governor Sakaja issued a warning to Kanjo Askaris about the habit of assaulting hawkers.

“We will enact policies that will offer growth opportunities and an environment suitable for business within Nairobi County,” Sakaja stated.