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Fire razes down a section of Gikomba market

Traders at the Gikomba market woke up to a sad morning on Saturday, October 15, after a fire razed down a section of the market.

Property of unestablished value went up in flames as firefighters from Nairobi County battled to put out the night inferno.

According to the Kenya Redcross, the fire started in the Dispensary Gashosho area at around 1 am destroying property worth millions of shillings.

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Police say they are yet to establish the cause of the fire and that there were no casualties reported. Adding that investigation into the incident are underway.

Photos and videos making rounds on social media showed a huge blaze at the fire-prone market with traders struggling to salvage their stock and property.

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Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for second-hand clothing and footwear as well as furniture, is said to be a source of livelihood to millions of persons directly and indirectly.

The traders blamed the Nairobi County firefighters’ late response for more damages, losses, injuries and loss of lives among the hardworking traders.

There have been allegations that land ownership tussles between tenants in county-owned houses, suspected land grabbers and traders have fuelled the perennial fires.

During his campaign in June, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja sensationally claimed some business, whom he did not name, have been behind the periodic fires witnessed at the Gikomba market.

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He added that the fires are a direct result of a land dispute.

He also claimed, but without providing evidence, that some people have been bragging about having title deeds for Nairobi’s biggest market and asked the then Deputy President and now President William Ruto to solve the situation by declaring the 16 acres of land in which the market stands as public land once he ascends to power.

A probe ordered by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2017 is yet to provide conclusive answers and there have been numerous fire outbreaks since then.

Seeking to solve the solution, Nairobi County Government and the national government resolved to build a new five-storey Gikomba market at a cost of Sh3 billion to end all the fire incidences.

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