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February 20, 2019

Five-storey market to end Gikomba fires

Nairobi senator Mike Sonko
Nairobi senator Mike Sonko

City Hall has announced plans to construct a five-storey building for traders to end frequent fires and congestion at the open air Gikomba market.

In a statement on Friday, Governor Mike Sonko the building’s design had been completed. It will have 522 stalls. The project will be jointly funded with the national government. He did not disclose the cost of the project.

“The county government will work together with the state department of housing, urban development and public works to ensure the building complies with safety and environment regulations,” Sonko said.

The block will have two lifts, back-up generators, a refrigerator and a sewer system. Lights and CCTV cameras will be installed both in and outside the market.

“The market block will also be installed with firefighting equipment to end the perennial disasters often experienced at Gikomba,” Sonko said.

Gikomba, the country’s biggest retail market, has bore the brunt of fires. On June 15, 17 people were killed in the latest incident.

Tens of people were injured in the inferno that also destroyed property. Investigations to establish the cause are ongoing. Traders have given conflicting accounts, with others saying the infernos are arson attacks prompted by business rivalries.

Sonko said City Hall was seeking an Environment Impact Assessment approval from the National Environment Management Authority. The tender will be floated next month and awarded in September. Construction of the one year project is expected to begin in October. “We shall do the final inspection on September 15 next year. We expect the contractor to hand over the project on September 30, 2019,” Sonko said.

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