Traders of Gikomba markert woke up to salvage a few things remaining after a dawn inferno razed through their stalls.
The cause of the recent fires in Kenya’s most popular market-Gikomba- is yet to be known.
Traders at the busy Gikomba Market count losses as they wake up to another dawn fire, cause yet to be established but suspected to politicians eyeing the prime property. pic.twitter.com/YC4aXymzIx
— Cyprian, Is Nyakundi (@CisNyakundi) November 20, 2020
Gikomba market fires were reported as early as in the 1980s and have always been surrounded by speculations of business rivalry and land dispute given the market’s strategic position in the country’s capital city, Nairobi.
In the past decade, Gikomba has burnt every year except 2011, 2013 and 2016. The market has burnt at least 10 times from 2010 with three of the incidents taking place in June of 2015, 2018 and 2020.
Two other incidents took place in February; one in 2019 and another in 2020.
Three other incidents took place in June including today’s inferno with the one in 2018 causing 15 deaths. Two other cases happened in October; one in 2014 and 2017. Interestingly, almost all the fires start in the wee hours of the night.
Other incidents took place in September 2010, March 2012 and May 2014.
Even though President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive to investigate the cause of the fires in 2017, those mandated with the task together with the proceeds of their investigation (if it was ever done) have gone dark.
Such have been the stories of fire and the market as many conspiracies surrounding who or what causes the fires and why help never reaches on time despite the crisis happening almost every year. Traders and residents of the area have for a long linked the fires to arson attacks instead of accidents.