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The Hawkers Umbrella, A Luxury For Many Of Them

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As the 2022 general election nears, freebies from Politicians will rent the air again you know as the political parties will be releasing their election manifestos.

From promises of free laptops to standard one pupils in 2013 as committed by the Jubilee party to free campaign T-Shirts and Caps, politicians do try to outdo each other in offering those freebies as elections approaches for years.

One of the many freebies include the Outdoor Umbrella or famously known as the Hawkers Umbrella. Although this product attracts less attention to non-entrepreneurs or hawkers passé, this little product is critical in hawkers’ circles.

In October of 2020, Netizens blasted nominated senator Millicent Omanga for donating an Umbrella to a hawker with her portrait on it, a majority of netizens who commented wondered why she “bragged” after donating such “a small item” while others questioned why she had to put her portrait on it

But I will not talk about those issues today, I will totally divert to something else that cropped my mind after that conversation faded the social media sites.

Do you know that the so called “small item” that people referred to is actually a luxury to the many hawkers in this country? Have you ever asked yourself why is it that not all the hawkers you meet in the streets do have Hawkers Umbrella? The reason is that not every one of them can afford such an item.

“I am eagerly waiting for those campaigns to kick off, I am hoping that I will be lucky to get the umbrella, you know these politicians like treating hawkers like eggs when election time approaches as they know we are the voting machines….so it will be our time to eat” an elated 56 year old Stephen Mwangi a utensils Hawker in Ngara revealed to me.

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Jane Muyani a Mama mboga at Ngara’s Railways estate says she suffers a lot during the rainy season as she is yet to buy a hawkers umbrella, but she is saving to buy a quality one soon.

“You know it’s been Eight  months now since I started this business, I don’t have enough cash to buy the umbrella now but I am still saving hopefully by December this year  I would have saved enough to buy one” she added.

Hawker’s Umbrella in Nairobi currently retails between Sh. 1,500 to Sh. 2, 800 at the Kamukinji market and at the Kings collection shop along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi.

“We do import the Hawkers Umbrellas from China as they are cheap, on a bad day I sell five of them, but it’s not a bad business” Francis Wambugu a shop owner at Nairobis Kamukunji market says.

“We do import these Umbrellas as a group of business owners in Kamukunji. It is cheaper that way, In fact our umbrellas are the strongest and of good quality,” he brags.

Now according to the Kenya National Bureau of statistics 2016, street hawking in Kenya has contributed to the creation of the micro, small and medium enterprises that constitutes around 95 percent of the country’s businesses, with Nairobi’s central business district CBD alone estimated to be having more than 6000 hawkers, an increasing number that is now causing friction and concern between city county askaris and the said hawkers.

BY WEMA TOYWA   #WEMA’STAKE

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