Business On Street
Silicon Valley is the in thing that side of the world. It boosts of the biggest and the boldest names in business. It’s a story of global brands, brands that came conquered and re-defined how the world does business. Some chaps argue that here at home River Road is our home version Silicon Valley but that’s a story for another day.
This is familiar if you happen to spend twenty-five hours on Moi Avenue like me. And in between find yourself on Tom Mboya. Talking of Tom Mboya street; it’s that famous street that categorically but silently positions Nairobi into upper Nairobi and Lower Nairobi and the difference is shouting big, big because everything changes from just a couple of people to multitudes on the street. From high storey silent offices to landlocked business stalls. It’s big because best of all prices change from exorbitant high to affordable then just normal down south.
Fast forward to the real street business and here is a quick one, “have you been on Tom Mboya Street late evening of late? Since you node yes this is very familiar with you. Ave been there as well and that is all but a market place that time of the day. Walking down you need to watch your pace lest you crush on some tomatoes down your feet. Do you know what that means? Do you? No you try it out one day but please don’t mention me.
Okay the disorder, the shouting and worst of all the mayhem when out of the blues the county askaris come charging and all but me get helter skelter. Lie I take off as well. Bottom line the city in the sun is a self-proclaimed jungle and of course all and sundry moved in to etch a living. True, it’s a concrete jungle and either way man must live. It’s a risky affair but the hawkers choose nothing less making a living. I mean truth be told it’s how they afford basics of life and lucky ones see their kids to school to define their own fate. They risk a lot to get a living. On a lucky day all they lose is their stocks to the county askaris. To mean on extremely lethal occasions lives are lost.
Yes there are the interests of keeping the CBD in order as a key checks and balance but on the fore front is the interests of the big investors who pay unmatched goodwill to secure shops in the said CBD who need to stay afloat. We are faced with yet a burning urgency; to look after needs of the hawkers who constitute the masses. As much as brutal force is used to keep them out of the street, favorable alternatives must be presented in effort to present a well-coordinated exit strategy all along.
Whats the way forward in taming this street business? The key players and or stakeholders should brainstorm on finding well-manicured alternative mass markets for hawkers well managed for sustainability. Such an initiative will ensure that as they move out of the CBD, they settle for an alternative home.
True we need our city back devoid of disorder!