Mukiriti Traders vow to invade CBD if Kiambu Government fails to evict hawkers.

Leaders of Mukiriti traders addressing their members at Moi Gardens on Monday where they vowed to forcefully eject 'illegal' hawkers from the CBD.

A last-minute intervention from the County Government of Kiambu has halted street protests organised by Mukiriti and Stadium traders who were expressing their anger against the invasion of hawkers within Thika Town’s CBD.

In a meeting held at Moi Gardens on Monday morning, the traders strongly objected intrusion by Murang’a and Githurai hawkers whom they accused of rendering them out of business despite not paying any fee to the county government.

Led by Moi Market-Mukiriti Traders Association Chairperson Nicholas Muiruri, the traders accused the county government of doing nothing to contain these hawkers who have now invaded all the streets and pavements within the CBD to form a full illegal open air market.

“They have products similar to ours but sell at a third of the price or less because they do not pay any licences nor rent. They have no overheads and can afford to sell at low prices which we can’t. We no longer sell anything these days. We have had enough and are now demanding quick intervention from county government,” said Muiruri.

They accused some county government officials of allowing the hawkers to operate within the CBD for a weekly bribe of unspecified amount of money.

“It is unacceptable that hawkers now seem to be permanent and grossly interfering with the businesses of rent-paying and licensed retailers who have huge overheads. We will not allow that and if they are not out by tomorrow (Tuesday), we will invade every space in town and start selling our wares,” he warned.

Muiruri said that there was enough space at Moi Market for anyone who wished to trade and there was no apparent excuse to hawk within the town centre.

Thika District Business Association Chairman Alfred Wanyoike accused the hawkers of roughing up other traders who protested the invasion of pavements outside their shops adding that they (hawkers) were always ready to take the law into their own hands to force into the available open spaces.

“They are causing all manner of problems due to the congestion they are bringing into the CBD. Criminals have now taken advantage of the confusion to wreak havoc to unsuspecting passersby. If you fail to get them out, we will evict them ourselves,” he said.

Responding to their grievances, Thika regional sub-county administrator Christopher Wanjau assured the traders that he will send his enforcement team on the ground to ensure that the town was cleared off all hawkers.

He warned that any negligence or impropriety from any member of the enforcement team who continue to solicit for bribes to abet the current lawlessness and disorder would be investigated and severe action taken against any officer found culpable.
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