June 13, 2013

Community members are using new pavements along Juja Road in a way the authorities may not have anticipated. The pavements – or sidewalks – were constructed for pedestrians’ use and to reduce accidents. But business men and women have decided to use them as stalls and market place. They are bringing their products near to where people live and pass; some of the products they sell include vegetables, fruits, cooked food, household goods and electronics.

“Business is good; I am able to sell a variety of goods,” said Mama Nekesa, a resident in Huruma near Huruma corner stage.

people selling goods along the road near there houses

people selling goods along the road near there houses

“This has helped me take my three children to school. From this place, I can run my business and look after my children while they do their homework in the house.”

There are several reasons vendors decided to use the pavement. One reason is because it’s nearer to where they stay, making it easier for them to hide from the city council officers to avoid paying the weekly levy.  They can also give credits to their customers and receive pay when their customers are in a position to pay since they know them by name and where they stay. The security lights permit them to work until late to ensure their stock is cleared. And compared to those who use stalls and shops, it’s cheaper to run their business from the roadside because they don’t have to register them.

On the other hand, there are some challenges for these vendors. They are facing weekly levies from the city council whether they sell anything or not – and it’s not always possible to hide from them. They are prone to accidents because their locations double as bus stops and vehicles can lose control and run over them. At the road side a lot of business is taking place and competition is very high because every seller is hustling to ensure all his/her products are sold by the end of the day. A steady flow of dust makes them vulnerable to some illness and the noise makes them feel uneasy.

 business taking place next to a road where vehicles are

business taking place next to a road where vehicles are

People do business to make a living but the challenges they are facing make it hard to sustain themselves. Their plea to the county representative and the area Member of Parliament is to help them get business certificates at a reduced price. With the certificate they don’t have to pay the weekly levies. Another solution might be to set up in a safer location to reduce pollution, accidents, noise and congestion.

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