The Sh493 million Gikomba modern market project was announced back in October 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta after a fire razed down the entire market. Four years later, a six-floor new ultra-modern market was delivered as part of the first phase of the project.
The six-floor-storey building comprised 41 stalls (fish traders), 96 stalls for the original tenants, 88 stalls (to be shared by two traders each), 74 Mpesa stalls, five salon stalls, five hotels, and 107 spaces for informal traders.
The fish trader would occupy the first floor while the second floor was allocated to 81 traders who were operating in the market area. The third floor on the other hand was allocated to sub-tenants, while the fourth was to hawkers and mobile money transfer service operators. The final two floors were allocated to hawkers who will also benefit from the planned phase II of the market.
The first phase of the Gikomba modern market has a standby generator installation, plumbing and drainage works, cold room/refrigeration, and toilet extract system installation. According to Eng. Njenga from the State Department of Housing and Urban Development, a perimeter wall will be constructed around the market, and CCTV cameras installed.
Eng. Njenga also revealed that Gikomba market Phase II would be twice the size of the first phase.
Reported on July 2018
Kenya to construct US $30m modern Gikomba modern market
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 a 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.
The area chief issued the directive given by deputy County Commissioner Moses Lilan barring 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.