President William Ruto’s economic adviser, David Ndii, has openly criticized Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja following a wave of public outrage sparked by photos and videos showing hawkers being forcibly ejected from the city’s Central Business District (CBD), images that quickly went viral on social media.
Ndii, along with numerous other concerned Kenyan citizens on the platform, took a stand in defense of the hawkers while simultaneously condemning Sakaja’s administration for its actions.
In a pointed remark, Ndii voiced his discontent, asserting that the leadership in Nairobi County was not “hustler friendly.” He specifically targeted Sakaja, expressing his disappointment by stating, “That’s why I keep prodding Sakaja on it.”
Ndii contended that Sakaja had initially campaigned on a promise to bring order to the city, suggesting solutions such as relocating some of the hawkers to markets.
However, Ndii firmly disagreed with this approach, highlighting a fundamental issue: “Street vendors are on streets because that’s where customers are,” he argued, questioning the feasibility of moving them to enclosed market spaces.
The public outcry intensified when a video shared by a concerned citizen (@Haaland_sholla) depicted men loading trolleys, laden with goods including eggs and smokies, onto trucks.
The footage encapsulated a stark reality: Kenyans struggling to earn a livelihood were being disrupted and displaced from their means of income.
In response to the evictions, social media users expressed their frustration and disappointment. One user, @_Yanon, offered a satirical commentary on the situation, sarcastically referring to the government as “serikali ya hustlers” (the government of hustlers). He criticized the administration’s actions, highlighting the irony of a government purportedly championing the cause of the common man while failing to support street vendors trying to make ends meet.
Amidst the growing public outcry, the call for a more compassionate and sustainable solution echoed through online platforms. Many advocated for the construction of makeshift establishments where hawkers could sell their goods without the fear of eviction, emphasizing the importance of finding a balance between urban development and the livelihoods of the city’s street vendors.