Walking across the streets of Tom Mboya in Nairobi,I am caught in the middle of a fracas as suddenly everyone seems to be scampering for safety. I am tempted to run but on second thoughts makes a quick analysis of the situation.

From a distant, frantic calls of ‘kanjo ‘can be heard as the run continues. That’s when I realise it is the warning call of the presence of a city askari nearby. This is meant to alert the street hawkers to run and save their merchandise.

Many have once or twice been caught up in such a scenario. Within seconds one would be left confused alone in the middle of a busy street where along-the-pavement hawking is rampant.

But why the distress yet they could just pay that little fee and stay out of areas they are not allowed? Maybe its the lack of space and customers and hence the move to look for one.

From mothers to young university students ,all in search for that little money to fend for their families,pay fees and fulfill their needs are caught up in this mess.The game of hide and seek with the kanjos.

But who are we to blame on this? Is it the city askaris for doing their work or the pavement hawkers?


In the recent past ,the Nairobi Governor Hon.Mike Sonko has been so keen on beautification of the County,hence some of the drastic measures including unauthorisation of bodaboda in the CBD and doing away with the stage once at luthuli avenue -one of the places which has seen a great rebrand overtime.

This might be one reason the kanjos have become so strict !

Pavement hawkers in the streets of Nairobi

4 thoughts on “Surviving In The Streets For A Living”

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