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Sakaja: Three reasons why Gikomba market is always on fire

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on Thursday revealed the reason behind Gikomba market frequent fires.

The Senator, who spoke in an interview with Radio Citizen, said there were three possibilities why the market is always on fire.


The senator said that first, the fire is started by those who want to grab the market, who think they have title deeds of the place.

“They burn the market so that they can move the traders. I want to tell them that, the President and I have agreed that if one has a title deed of Gikomba market, they should use that paper for something else and not claim any piece of the market because it is a public property and does not belong to anyone,” Sakaja said.

He said the second reason for the fire at the market is the traders themselves.

“Some of these traders burn the place in order to be compensated by the insurance after they cannot restock,” he said.

The third reason, he said, is accidental. He gave an example of how some of the street families that sleep at the market light fire to keep themselves warm and sometimes they might fall asleep and the fire accidentally spreads.


Sakaja’s remarks come just days after Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said that the frequent fire incidents in Gikomba market are deliberate acts of arson.

Sakaja also said he has never received a report on a fire incident back in 2018 that left 18 people dead and 70 others injured.

“As you know, my work as a senator is to request for investigations. I’m not an implementer, that is their work,” he said.

In 2018, the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti was asked by the Senator to investigate the fire that locals claimed started from four different places within an expansive timber yard, in what he said was “an outright case of arson.”

This was not the first time that the DCI was being asked to probe the “mysterious” Gikomba fires that now seems to have a pattern.

In late 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the DCI to probe another incident, but months later, nothing has been established.