The police on Wednesday arrested and allegedly manhandled a street vendor for trading without valid documents. The alleged victim claims the town council is to blame because it failed to approve his application for a cucashop license.
Police fired three warning shots at the unarmed vendor before loading him into municipal vehicles, as they did not come with police cars. New Era could not ascertain whether the victim suffered any injuries when he was whisked away by the police.
The vendor, a resident of Kaniita informal settlement, was identified as Angula Philemon.
He was allegedly assaulted in the early morning hours by three police officers after he tried to take pictures of their them dismantling his makeshift tuck-shop, where he was selling sweets, biscuits and toiletries.
It is alleged the technical advisor of Omuthiya Town Council, Simon Nghuulondo, approached Angula on Tuesday evening demanding to see the documents that permit him to trade on a piece of land alongside the road.
According to eyewitnesses, Angula had told Nghuulondo that he has on several occasions tried to obtain legal documents for the cucashop, but had not received any positive feedback from the town council.
It is further stated that Angula had asked why Nghulondo came after working hours to ask for the permit and this apparently triggered the spat between the two. Angula was later surprised by the return shortly thereafter of Nghuulondo with council officials and the police.
Angry bystanders, who demanded Angula’s release from the police holding cells, yesterday afternoon said Angula was the only one who was approached by the council officials, even though he is not the only vendor operating illegally in the informal settlement.
They further allege there are council employees who are also running illegal businesses in the informal settlement.
As of late yesterday afternoon Angula was still held at Omuthiya police station.
Upon inquiry Omuthiya police station commander Inspector Shiwaye said he is aware of the case and that they were still investigating and he thus could not divulge any information.
He instead referred this reporter to Nghuulondo, saying he is the one who can shed more light on the incident, as he is the complainant.
“I cannot say anything on the matter. Rather Nghuulondo can enlighten you more, as he reported that they are operating on an illegal land,” Shiwaye said.
He, however, declined to comment on the allegations of assault by the police and the firing of gunshots at the scene.
Nghuulondo said he was in a meeting and promised to call back, but had not done so by the time of going to print.