Nairobi Hawkers Face New Tough Rules & Fines

A photo of Nairobi County Askaris on a patrol.
Nairobi County Askaris on a routine patrol.

The Nairobi County Government is contemplating passing new laws that will spell tough fines for hawkers who roam the streets and engage law enforcers in running battles

The Nairobi City County Popup Markets and Street Vendors Bill, 2019 seeks to streamline how hawkers will conduct their business in the city. The bill was sponsored by Nominated MCA Kabiro Mbugua. 

The bill has already gone through public participation and second reading and is awaiting the final voting process by MCAs. 

Mbugua wants the establishment of the Department of Pop Up markets to handle revenue collection, licensing, maintenance of markets and law enforcement for street vendors and hawkers.

Hawkers situated along a street in Nairobi County Central Business District (CBD).
Nairobi County Government

The bill stipulates that markets will be established in various streets, and hawkers will be allowed to operate in the designated region at least twice a week. 

It will also allow for trade zones to be identified and specific operation times communicated to traders to avoid confrontations with authorities 

Markets would operate differently. home appliances, electronics, farm produce, and art on different streets on different days. 

Licences will be issued for a one year period and renewal will be for the same amount of time. 

A fine not exceeding Ksh 50,000 or a six-month jail term was proposed for traders who break laws related to licencing and selling prohibited goods. 

"A person who behaves in a disorderly manner in a pop-up market commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh 30,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or both," it adds. 

Hawkers were also warned against assaulting county askaris. The bill states that "A person who assaults or obstructs authorised officers in a pop-up market while executing their duty is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh 50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or both."

A similar amount will be charged to anyone who creates any disturbance in the market or who is found trading in an undesignated area. 

Hawkers have clashed severally with licenced traders in Nairobi who have accused the former of invading their allocated spaces. Residents have also demonstrated arguing that hawkers affect movement in the city as they flood pavements for pedestrians. 

Both previous governors, Mike Sonko and Evans Kidero attempt to evacuate hawkers from the streets backfired. 

Hawkers spotted in Nairobi CBD