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ELECTION 2022

Report: Police killing hawkers

THE COUNTIES
By Cynthia Awuor | Dec 12th 2014 | 2 min read

A report by the Independent Medical Legal Unit (Imlu) has revealed that police shootings account for the bulk of injuries inflicted on hawkers and small-scale business operators in Nairobi.

Titled ‘A Cry for Justice: Torture and Ill-Treatment of Hawkers and Small Scale Traders in Nairobi City’, the report says half of the shooting incidents on the traders were done by the police.

The county security wing, commonly referred to as county askaris, account for nearly half of the shootings. 

The report launched on Wednesday noted that male traders experienced more shootings than their female counterparts, and more often,they resulted in deaths or serious injuries.

It was revealed that more than 22 per cent of the traders had witnessed their colleagues die.

“A hawker was shot and seriously wounded in the knee by the police at Globe roundabout. Instead of taking him to hospital, he was handed over to the city askaris who bundled him into their van and proceeded to drive around the Central Business District,” a hawker in the report is quoted.

However, the report notes that during the election period, there is a reduction in cases of shootings, because politicians use the hawkers as a campaign strategy.

The report also revealed that bribing of city askaris has become “so normalised” that many traders are not aware that what they pay are not formal charges.

It further says that women also suffer sexual harassment from the county askaris, as a form of bribery.

“Accepting sexual advances from male askaris is treated as a form of bribery. The women who give in are exempted from harsh treatment meted out on traders,” reads the report.

The study records that hawkers are vulnerable to threats of arrest, confiscation of their wares, and death.

 

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