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DOUBLE TRAGEDY

Families displaced as houses demolished in Gikomba

Double tragedy for most of those affected after their business premises were razed down by a dawn fire early Thursday morning

In Summary

•Residents say that an excavator truck arrived with a contingent of NYS officers and Administration Police 

•Most of those affected do not know where else to go after their houses were demolished and properties destroyed.

DEVASTATED: Esther Kamau, whose house at Gikomba was demolished last night, ponders her next move
DEVASTATED: Esther Kamau, whose house at Gikomba was demolished last night, ponders her next move
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

It was double tragedy for tens of families at Gikomba market after they were evicted on Friday night and their houses demolished.

Speaking to the Star, those affected said an excavator arrived at around 10am. with a contingent of NYS officers and Administration Police.

“I did not even have the chance to secure my belongings. All I am left with are these clothes that am wearing,” Esther Kamau, a mother of three, said amidst tears.

The latest setback came after her business premise was razed down during the dawn fire at the largest open air market in Nairobi on early Thursday morning.

“Where does one go from here? I’ve lost everything and the government does not seem to care,” Kamau, who sells boiled maize, said.

For John, the demolition sets him back to ground zero after quitting crime to start a secondhand clothes business.


Pauline Wangui, one of the affected victims by yesternights demolitions of houses at Gikomba market that were on Thursday burnt down
Pauline Wangui, one of the affected victims by yesternights demolitions of houses at Gikomba market that were on Thursday burnt down
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

“I have lived here for all my life since I was born. I never thought there could come a day when I would become an IDP,” John, a father to four children, said.

John was only left with a worn out sofa and a wooden table as the rest of his property was demolished in the subsequent rubble.

“I don’t know where the rest of my things are. Most of them have been probably stolen,” he said.

Pauline Wangui sat motionless on her tattered red sofa as she stared into an abyss – a symbolism of her unknown future.

“They just came abruptly and told us to leave or else be beaten. This was the only place I could find a roof to lay my head, even though it was partially burnt,” Pauline said.

She spent the better part of the night in the cold whereas her children are being accommodated by a good Samaritan.

“This is adding more pain to us. The government could have at least talked to us before making such a step,” Wangui, whose food kiosk was also razed down on Thursday, said.

On Thursday, while touring the site of the fires, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho promised that the government will compensate those affected with Sh0,000. 

When contacted for a comment, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services office referred this writer to the Ministry of Interior.

A man takes a nap with his belongings as other struggle to salvage the little that is left at the rubble of last night's demolitions and Thursday morning's dawn fire
A man takes a nap with his belongings as other struggle to salvage the little that is left at the rubble of last night's demolitions and Thursday morning's dawn fire
Image: ANDREW KASUKU