Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the dream that failed

There's been violence between hawkers and Nairobi authorities after a nighttime demolition at Muthurwa Market in downtown Nairobi, Capital FM reports.

The hawkers lit bonfires and barricaded sections of the roads to protest eviction from the market by city council police.
The tragedy of this is that Muthurwa was built four years ago as a new and promising innovation for street hawkers. The creation of a planned market was supposed to be better for the hawkers and for people downtown. Instead, as The Standard reported last year, the dream failed. "The plan included a 24-hour market with basic facilities like water, restrooms, lighting, a hospital, a police station, multi-storied stalls, a banking hall, and an administrative office," at a price of 700 million shillings ($8.6 million), The Standard noted. But. "Sixteen months down the line, Murhurwa has become the epitome of chaos. The 12-hectare complex has degenerated into a den of muggers where hawkers and matatu [shared van] operators jostle for space."The newspaper enumerated some of the problems: "Burst sewers, dusty if not muddy roads, congestion, pickpockets, and lack of water."
The sad fact: the hawkers and the cops are fighting over a total failure of public policy.

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