A Thursday morning inferno that razed down Gikomba market’s cereals and second-hand cloth sections has left yet more traders in anguish and counting losses in millions.
The Ministry of Interior has indicated that the state will probe the causes of the constant fires as well as compensate the traders who have lost their goods and source of livelihood.
Through a tweet, the Ministry indicated that it would hold meetings and initiate talks with the market’s leaders to assess the damage and find a permanent solution to cushion traders.
“As directed by the HE, @Karanjakibicho, @PSCharlesHinga DG NMS Mr.Badi area MP Yussuf Hassan are hosting leaders from Gikomba Market at the ACC’s office after assessing the damage caused by last night’s fire incident. The Govt pledged to find a permanent solution to the problem,” reads the tweet.
As directed by the HE, @Karanjakibicho, @PSCharlesHinga, DG NMS Mr.Badi area MP Yussuf Hassan are hosting leaders from Gikomba Market at the ACC's office after assessing the damage caused by last night's fire incident. The Govt pledged to find a permanent solution to the problem. pic.twitter.com/0SggbpFQFL
— Ministry of Interior | Kenya (@InteriorKE) June 25, 2020
This is the second inferno since the year started as a similar one happened in February where properties of unknown value were reduced to ashes at the same Market. The fire razed a couple of shoe and apparel stalls.
Notably, in 2019, the country’s largest open-air market went up in flames at least three times. The last incident took place in August when property estimated at Sh100 million was destroyed.
Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko had then said that building a market would be the solution to the perennial problem.
The fires have in the past been blamed on business rivalries while others note that they are just mere smokescreens.
Four years ago, it was said that the market was deliberately set on fire to flatten Gorofani Estate which was then earmarked for redevelopment through the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan (NIUPLAN).
It has also been said that there has been bad blood between the traders and youths linked to Pumwani Riyadh Mosque.
The mosque apparently owns part of the land on which Gikomba market stands with accusations that the youths have in the past blocked lorries supplying materials.
“They claimed the county estate had invaded a section of their land. They even started putting beacons, but police thwarted the move,” a resident told a local daily.
With the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping across regions and leading to tough economic times, the fire makes it worse for Jua kali traders to fend for their families and meet their daily needs.