Street Vendors Clash With Guards At State House
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 15, 2003
NAIROBI, KENYA--A group of street vendors with disabilities frustrated and embarrassed city guards at the State House last Thursday when they demanded to see President Mwai Kibaki and refused to go away when ordered, The Nation news service reported.
Vendors, here called "hawkers", had been banned from the central business district by the Nairobi City Council. When they tried to take their case to the City Council, they were turned away. So they decided to take their complaint directly to President Kibaki.
The protesters then clashed with City Council guards, known as "askaris", who attempted to arrest them and remove them from the gates of the State House.
The Nation reported that the askaris seemed unsure of how to handle people with disabilities during arrests. The guards seemed "visibly embarrassed" when they tried to remove one woman who refused to let go of her wheelchair. The woman eventually freed herself but promised to continue the fight.
Nairobi Mayor Joe Aketch said later that he was pursuing a solution to the vendors' complaints which would "bring to an end painful sights" as were witnessed Thursday.