The government of Kenya has set aside US $30m for the construction of a modern Gikomba market, the region’s biggest open-air market in bid to prevent perennial fires such as the last fire incident that left 16 dead and at least 60 injured and provide a safer and better environment for traders.
The deputy president of Kenya, William Ruto,confirmed the statement and said that small-scale traders would be prioritized in the Nairobi regeneration plan and that hawkers will not interfere with the business of the traders.
“We have a challenge with Nairobi traders and the largest market has been burning every year,” said Dp Ruto.
Area chief issued the directive given by deputy County Commissioner Moses Lilan barred businessmen at the Gikomba market from rebuilding their stalls and kiosks to pave way for the construction which is set to take two years.
These plans and restrictions came in the thick of rumors that the frequent fire outbreaks were an act of arson to grab the land where the market sits. However, the traders defied the government’s directive and threatened to hold protests against the order arguing that the government has not found an alternative land for them.