Let us eat and let hawkers eat too: New Order Party of Kenya

Hawkers form a very significant and social-economically group in all major Kenyan towns. Elites and commoners view hawkers from very different perspectives. Some see them as an eyesore and nuisance primates, while other view them as a critical group that helps solve their shopping problems especially during these tough economic times.

The hawkers issue has been thorny in Kenya in recent times. It has been a real problem. Tackling it has been complicated and painful and at times destructive. Kenyans have seen demonstrations, relocations, fracas and both loses of lives and property as result of confrontations between hawkers and both municipality and regular security officers.

The issue is still alive and unresolved. No tangible policies and mechanisms that are beneficial to the Central Government, Local Authorities, Community and the Hawkers have ever been adopted in independent Kenya.

New Order Party of Kenya (NOPE) believes that Hawking Question must be addressed if Kenya has to achieve meaningful economic growth, political stability and general security in urban areas.

Despite the negative perception, hawking has a significant contribution in alleviating poverty. It creates employment. It gives consumers convenience of buying good and services at convenient locations. Hawking is an attraction to both foreign and domestic tourists. Hawking reduces insecurity by opening up streets that would have otherwise been isolated especially at nights. Hawking protects encroachments and misuses of vacant spaces. Hawking provides income earning opportunities for the elderly and disabled. The list is endless.

Through well crafted and practical policies, this huge hawking potential can be tapped and translated to gains for the society in terms of orderliness, incomes to both the individuals and taxes to the local authorities and government.

NOPE believes that the government must come up with a Hawkers commission that shall be legally mandated to handle Hawkers affairs. This commission shall comprise members from the Stakeholders involved in hawking activities. The commission should come with proposals aimed at making the hawking activities proliferate with discipline, eliminating any possibility of disharmony and confrontations. Such proposal that the commission must come up with includes the following:

Registration of Hawkers

Registration shall be aimed at making hawking a legitimate practice that comes with individual hawkers’ responsibility. It shall show the hawking carrying capacity of a particular area and this would help in decision making.

It shall also enable the government and local authorities to plan and to execute their policies with regards to taxations. It also shall enable the hawking fraternity to organize themselves in a proper manner with regards to airing of their grievances and accessing finances either from, Government Agencies, Non Governmental agencies or Micro Finance Institutions.

Code of Conduct of Hawkers

The commission shall come up with a strict code of conduct that shall govern the operations of the hawking business. This code shall clearly stipulate the basic minimum for one to be accepted as a hawker and the penalty for not adhering to the stipulated laws.

This code shall include among other things, identification badges, cleanliness, time for doing business, allowed and prohibited wares, noise factor, distance from the shops, pedestrian paths and the roads among others. This code shall guide the issuance and withdrawal of licenses to and from the hawkers respectively


The commission shall push for recognition of hawking as a legitimate business. This shall call for the provisions and guidelines for the provisions of licenses to the hawkers. The commission shall also clearly stipulate the procedure of the license acquisition, eligibility for licensing and conditions of licensing.

Licensing criteria such as eligibility (domicile), conditions (type of goods), and preferences (disabled, women above 50, men above 60), and recommendations from nearby residents (for 'temporary' areas) shall be included. Others licences like Festival and other daily licences options shall be also factored in.

Demarcation of the town and cities

The demarcation aspect shall clearly show the hawking zones, zones where hawking is strictly prohibited, zones temporary demarcated for hawking and the rest of the towns/cities.

The commission shall also come up with selection criteria for a non-hawking zone, regulations within a no-hawking zone, list of no-hawking zones. These demarcations aspects shall also come up with special mechanism for controlling other forms of hawking such as Roving Hawkers and Mobile Hawkers.

Long Term Planning

The commission shall also be mandated to come up with long terms schemes for hawkers operations. The commission shall also come up with measures of establishing other hawking areas like Hawking Bazaars, Daily and Weekly Markets or Plazas and integration of hawkers to main stream businesses

Hawking success is a win-win situation for all Kenyans.

NOPE believes that a just government that protects the interests of big business can and must also protect the businesses of the less fortunate members of the society. Hawkers’ quest for recognition is not a favour, nor is it a privilege: or if it then it must not be exaggerated. The government and big business must eat and let others eat too.

Kenya belongs to all Kenyans.

God Bless Kenya

Lawrence Kamau Macharia


New Order Party of Kenya

Bookmark the permalink.