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Exclusive Who is behind mysterious Gikomba fire? – Traders open up

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Pulselive.co.ke probes the mysterious Gikomba fire

For over a decade now Gikomba market, one of the largest open-air markets in the country, has without fail been razed down by a wild midnight fire either once or twice in one year.

The mystery surrounding the inferno has always remained unknown with traders operating at the market left to salvage whatever little is left of their merchandise.

The market is located in a City council-owned residential – Gorofani- which many can fail to spot owing to the numerous vibandas erected to serve the traders.

 

When the fire strikes at night not only are the multi million goods owned by traders usually destroyed but also homes of families that reside in Gorofani area.

In August 2017 Zuhura, a mother of three, woke up to screams at around 3 am to save whatever she has in her single-roomed house when a fire, which has since been described as the biggest witnessed at the market, broke out.

The middle-aged woman tried her level best to salvage her hard-earned household goods by paying off youth in the area to help her in the rescue mission.

This was not the first or the second time Zuhura found herself in a situation where she was forced to wake her children up at 3 am to run away from a fire coming to gut down their home.

She has lived in Gorofani for years and has witnessed almost all the fire incidents at the open-air market.

 

However, like many Zuhura is also baffled at who might be behind such an evil ploy.

She has lived in the area for far too long to know it is not a simple robbery incident instigated to steal property from the traders.

For this reason, Pulselive.co.ke took some time at the heart of the market to speak to traders and tried to establish who could be behind the inferno which has cost many their livelihood.

We were met with disgruntled businessmen and women already building their burnt down structures with fear that someone might grab their little area and force them out of business.

Alphonse, a middle-aged man who sells men’s shirts, believes that the fire is no coincidence at all.

Mr. Kioko has been operating at Gikomba for a long time and knows quite well that after a night of battling with fire, the first action to take is to reconstruct or else your kiwanja (business area) is gone.

Speaking to Pulselive.co.ke, he divulged: “It is usually a trick to chase us away from this market. If your stall is burnt down twice they (arsonists) hope you will get tired and leave the area. They will then come and grab it".

 

He is not the only one who speculates that the market which serves both East and Central Africa could be up for sale to a very wealthy investor.

However, Ann Njoki who sells kids clothes speculates that the fire could be politically influenced owing to the fact that it came at a time when the political heat was very high.

Ms. Njoki lost a whopping Sh800,000 worth of stock that she had just bought on the eve of the fierce inferno.

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