Nairobi: Vendors living with disability protest over harassment by Kanjos

Nairobi: Vendors living with disability protest over harassment by Kanjos

Vendors living with disability demonstrating in Nairobi County today, November 14, 2023.

275 vendors from Nairobi who are living with disability have protested over what they deemed as unfavourable working conditions and discriminatory policies imposed by the Nairobi County Government. 

On Tuesday morning, the group marched to the Senate, with the intention of submitting their petition to the clerk of the house. However, they were blocked by police officers.

The traders, who claim to have been duly registered by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) and recognized by the city council since 2013 and 2014 decried neglect, especially during dispersals by city askaris (commonly known as Kanjos), claiming that their needs have constantly been overlooked.

The community, which has now turned to the Senate, is calling for intervention to rectify the issues, claiming that their social and economic rights are under constant threat.

"We have been set aside by the county when implementing policies. They do not consider people living with disabilities," one of the vendors expressed.

The community also argued that past administrations demonstrated more leniency, a shift from the current regime.

“This new government does not recognize our existence,” they added.

The traders also underscored their commitment to advocating for their social and economic rights, warning that continued negligence would lead to further infringements.

In October, a video circulated online depicted harassment by Nairobi City Council employees popularly known as 'Kanjo', towards disabled hawkers.

The video which went viral left a bad taste in the mouth of Kenyans, leading to public outcry.

This prompted a response by Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja who took to X, ordering the release of confiscated items and pledged action against those responsible.

Section 1 (a) of Article 54 of the Constitution mandates respectful treatment of persons with disabilities.

Additionally, Section 1 (c) of Article 54 advocates for accessible public infrastructure, a demand echoed by the disabled vendors for equal participation in economic activities.

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