A section of Nairobi’s Gikomba market was on Thursday morning razed down by a mysterious inferno leading traders in anguish and counting losses amounting to millions of shillings.
According to the Ministry of Interior 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.
The Ministry through a tweet 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.
The Tweet read,
“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,”
Since the year started this is the second inferno to be reported 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.
In 2019, notably 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.
Mike Sonko Nairobi County Governor had then said that building a market would be the solution to the perennial problem.
In the past the fires have 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.
Apparently, the mosque owns part of the land on which Gikomba market stands with accusations that the youths have in the past blocked lorries supplying materials.
A resident told a local daily, “They claimed the county estate had invaded a section of their land. They even started putting beacons, but police thwarted the move.”
Traders said the fire broke out at 2am Thursday.