Over 1,000 families who call Gikomba market their home spent the night in the cold following demolition of their houses.

Residents say bulldozers arrived on Friday night and they were ordered to immediately vacate the area.

Some traders are also counting losses after their stalls were demolished in the Friday night operation.

Kamukunji deputy commissioner Moses K-rilan said that the demolitions which were done under police supervision were government-sanctioned.

Property razed down by fire in Gikomba
Property razed down by fire in Gikomba

New structures

He clarified that the demolitions were aimed at structures that are dilapidated in a bid to prevent the collapse of the structures which can be detrimental to residents.

The deputy commissioner stated that the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) plans to build new long-lasting buildings and structures not prone to collapse.

On Thursday night an inferno razed down goods of known value at the expansive market area, leaving traders counting losses.

Interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho said the government is investigating the incident to identify individuals believed to be behind the recurrent burning down of property at the Gikomba market.

Warning from PS Kibicho

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho with traders from Gikomba Market hours after inferno destroyed goods of unknown value on June 25, 2020
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho with traders from Gikomba Market hours after inferno destroyed goods of unknown value on June 25, 2020

PS said the government believes the fires are not natural, adding that a desk has been set up at the fifth floor of Nyayo House to probe all information and leads that could unmask the cartels behind the fires.

Unfortunately there are people who believe that when the business people using this space are evacuated that they will have an opportunity to use this land for private use," the Interior PS said.

"Gikomba is public land and it shall be used for public purposes even after we relocate the traders who are to here to the markets we are building,” he added.