Hawkers targeting tourists in Nakuru town have decried harassment by county government askaris who they claim work for their rivals at a local tourist spot.
Some of the hawkers who talked to this writer at the famous Maasai market opposite said the askaris were being paid by the Nakuru Curio Sellers Association officials to drive them out of business. The hawkers claimed that they were constantly arrested and their goods confiscated even after paying taxes.
Ezekiel Muturi, a hawker alleges that last week, he lost goods worth Sh5,000 and spent a day at the county government cells after being arrested by the security officers. He blamed his ordeal on the curio sellers who the hawkers argue are scared of business competition.
“What wrong do we do by moving around here? We pay taxes and have a right to move within the town trying our luck. Our rivals are scared of competition and that is why they are colluding with the askaris to frustrate us,’’ said Muturi.
When contacted for comment, the Nakuru Curio Sellers Association Secretary General Isaac Kioko denied that his association was behind the hawkers woes. He however said that the market area belongs only to registered members of his association.
He said the Nakuru Tourism Board and the county government were aware of their exclusive dealership at the market hence the askaris were operating within the law.
In the past there have been complaints that hawkers harass tourists and block them from accessing the curio sellers’ stands.