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Another fire destroys property in Gikomba market

Traders on Friday morning lost property of unknown value after a fire burnt down a section of Gikomba market in Nairobi.

There were no reported casualties in the incident that occurred at 2am when traders had already left the market.

The fire engulfed Section 42 in Majengo inflicting substantial damage. Fanuel Juma, Chairman of Shoes Traders in the affected area, reported losses amounting to millions of shillings.

“We won’t know the exact amount of what traders have lost until the affected ones count their losses. But I thank the Nairobi County firefighters for their quick response to put the fire out,” he said.

Also read: Sakaja’s disaster team exposed as ‘curse’ of market fires impoverishes traders

Gikomba market, the biggest open-air market in the country, has suffered numerous fires, with the recent one being on September 2023, but the worst was last December when traders lost goods worth more than Sh2 million. Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja had promised to set up a fire station at the market to tame the recurrent fires.

However, he had complained that land grabbers were a headache and prevented this would-be solution: “Gikomba is public land, and we will build a wall around it. It belongs to the people of Nairobi. We will defend it to the end from grabbers,” he said.

The fire comes just days after the announcement of the construction of the long-anticipated Gikomba and Kangemi fire stations as the missing funds from the Sh120 million budget allocated for the two projects have been clarified.

County Disaster Management and Coordination Chief Officer, Mr Bramwel Simiyu, confirmed this development during a media briefing at City Hall on Wednesday, November 29.

Also read: Makongeni MCA proposes renaming Toi market after Raila Odinga

Simiyu addressed the earlier controversy surrounding a letter from his office to Finance and Planning counterpart Ms Asha Abdi, reporting the alleged disappearance of Sh15,658,500 million.

Addressing the matter on Thursday, November 30, Simiyu stated, “I’m happy to report that the issue has been resolved. In fact, the funds that had been reallocated from the budget were reversed, and now we have access to the full budget to be able to undertake that task.”

With the reclaimed funds, the department has initiated the procurement process for the construction of the two fire stations, targeting completion within the current financial year.

Also read: Westlands MP Tim Wanyonti donates 500 iron sheets to Toi market fire tragedy victims