Sakaja condemns crackdown on hawkers, woos French investors

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has condemned the inhumane treatment of hawkers which left them counting losses.

Sakaja gave the affected hawkers Sh10,000 compensation each to rebuild their businesses.

He termed the county askaris action barbaric and promised to crack down on wayward officers.

The governor who is in Paris, France, representing President William Ruto at a global school feeding meeting said that the inhumane handling of the hawkers was regrettable and uncalled for and promised to revisit the matter once he returns to the country.

"Our county government's interest is to support the small and medium scale businesses not to destroy them, what happened was uncalled for and regrettable, I will not condone such asks by our askaris," said Sakaja in a phone interview with The Standard.

"We are a county government that cares for the people, it is them who are contributing to the revenues and therefore are our valuable stakeholders. We will retrain our askaris on how to do their work in a humane way," he added.

On Wednesday, the county askaris crackdown on street food hawkers left behind a trail of destruction with eggs, smokies and eggs strewn on the streets and trolleys vandalised.

The askaris impounded several trollies and loaded them into lorries during the operation which has been widely condemned.

On the school feeding project, the governor said that he intends to ensure that all the 250,000 pupils in Nairobi benefit beginning next year after successful implementation of the ‘Dishi na County feeding programme' during the second and the third term.

Kenya's school feeding programme has gained international recognition which saw French President Emmanuel Macron invite President Ruto and Sakaja to the global school feeding meeting.

The governor said during the five-day trip he wooed French investors who have shown interest in infrastructure development projects in Nairobi.

Sakaja assured the French investors that the county government has put in place policies that have improved the business environment.

The county boss plans to partner with investors to address traffic jams and garbage collection in the city.

On transport, Sakaja said he will push for the implementation of the Nairobi Roads Plan on the Integrated Transport System and Loop Line Project in the Nairobi Urban Core County, to decongest the city.

“I am determined to solve Nairobi’s transport mess by building through innovative ways like the implementation of mass transport, through light trains and big buses where even commuters can stand as they travel. That will ensure ease of traffic in the city, that is why we are wooing investors to Nairobi,” he said.

Sakaja said finding a lasting solution to the garbage menace, was one of his top priorities.

"We are also seeking to have investors who will address the solid waste management by processing garbage into other valuable products," he said.