How to Survive as a Hawker in Nairobi
By Soko Directory Team / Published May 19, 2016 | 6:44 am
What comes to your mind when you hear the term hawking? Do you think about business? Do you think about money? What comes to your mind?
The truth is that the mere mention of the word hawkers sounds illegal and many people, including hawkers themselves have been made to believe so.
This begs the question, is hawking illegal? Are hawkers criminals? Is their any provision that defines and prov who a hawker is and whether it is a profession?
Hawking is not illegal. It is a form of business where an individual sells goods in small quantities in order to make a living. These are those people you meet in the streets with such goods as watches shouting on top of their voices trying to convince you to buy their products.
The local governments however, have made the business look criminal. The County Government of Nairobi for instance, hunts down hawkers the same way Al-Shabaab
or terrorists are hunted down. Many hawkers have been killed and many others left to be nursing injuries with nothing being done against the perpetrators.
There is an untold animosity between the hawkers and the County officials in Nairobi County and each team has created mechanisms to survive so as to play smart of the other.
How can one survive as a hawker in Nairobi? Well, here are some of the survival tactics that one can apply:
Sell your goods in the open
Selling your goods in the open gives you as a hawker more room to monitor how things are. You will have room to run if need will arise and chances that you will be stumbled upon will be minimized.
Keep your eyes and ears open
To survive as a hawker in Nairobi you have to have good eyes and functioning ears. This is because you are always not aware of when, how and where the infamous “kanjo” will bounce into action and you have to be always on the lookout.
This is mandatory. You must own some talent in athletics for to survive as a hawker in Nairobi. You must be always in a position to run faster than the fastest County Askari.
All in all, hawking is not illegal but the system has made it look so. Hawkers are human beings who are just frantically trying to make a living. Why kill an innocent poor individual trying to make ends meet and leave the criminal who is out to harm and mayhem other people? Is there a way hawkers can be protected so that they just pay revenue like other small business people?
Article by Juma Fred.
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