By NAIROBI NEWS REPORTER
A journalist has captured a heart melting moment when a woman hawking onions in the city centre dives under a matatu to escape arrest by city askaris.
The middle aged woman is seen staying still under the matatu minibus until matatu operators beckon her to come out after the menacing askaris had passed.
In doubt, she wailed while still under the minibus and was unmoved for some time until more matatu operators assured her that she would not be arrested.
She finally obliged and crawled from underneath the matatu. She is then assisted to sit on a pavement near the intersection of Ronald Ngala and Tom Mboya Streets. Another woman helped her collect the onions that were scattered all over the pavement. The Nairobi City bylaws published on the county’s website are specific on designated areas of hawking within the city and grant a hawkers permit to applicants who provide details of the goods being hawked and location within the designated areas.
When the video was posted on Facebook by Daily Nation, users condemned the city askaris for not empathising with the woman “who was just trying to earn a living”. Brian Lisaka commented: “This is a poor woman who is simply trying to make ends meet and to fend for her young ones. That is the extent to which a mother can go just to make sure that she has put something on the table. There is no reason for harassing a defenseless woman trying to make an honest living.”
Enos Obura added: “It is only the poor who feel the real force of law, so many illegal businesses are operating unnoticed in the city coz the owners are untouchable. It so unfortunate that these ruthless county askaris find it suitable to flex their muscles on those who are weak. Hawkers must be respected!”
Benaiah Wa Muthoni commented: “if you see someone going to that extreme, then there may be a problem with the City Askaris, maybe on the means within these arrests are made. Pole sanaMama..”
First Reported by Nairobi News.