TRAGEDY

WAFULA: Sakaja, act now to save Gikomba market from infernos

Gikomba market fires just like Nairobi garbage menace, should be top among his priorities.

In Summary

• Despite the fact that former President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for an investigation into the causes of these endless infernos, nothing sensible has been done.

•  It's also unfortunate that up to date, the reason and people behind these fires are yet to be known, despite there being a functional government.

What was left after a section of Gikomba market was razed down in a Monday 1am fire incident.
SLUM FIRES: What was left after a section of Gikomba market was razed down in a Monday 1am fire incident.
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

Another fire was reported in Gikomba early Thursday morning, destroying property of unknown value.

In the past 12 years, the market has suffered infernos every year except the year 2011, 2013 and 2016 whereby the first cases were reported in the year 1980.

Despite the fact that former President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for an investigation into the causes of these endless infernos, nothing sensible has been done. These fires are still occurring.

It's also unfortunate that up to date, the reason and people behind these fires are yet to be known, despite there being a functional government.

There have been many speculation and stories but cannot be relied on to have a solution. In most cases, the fires have been associated with Gikomba land disputes.

Governor Johnson Sakaja should do something. Gikomba market fires just like Nairobi garbage menace, should be top among his priorities.

Over the years, the Mitumba Consortium Association of Kenya and the now-defunct Nairobi Metropolitan Services have been urging the government to act.

There is need for the county government to come up with measures that will see this menace stop.  First, the traders have been complaining on the late response by the firefighters. In the same vein, the firefighters have complained about the poor road infrastructure and congestion within the market, which makes access difficult.

Secondly, installation of CCTV cameras is something that will help as it will be easy to track the sources and causes of the fire as some traders say some fires are caused by arsonists.

Third and most importantly, there is need for the construction of a perimeter wall, floodlights, fire alarms and placing of fire extinguishers at accessible points.

Wafula Meshack is a media and communication student, Rongo University

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