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Gikomba will not burn again, vow city MPs

City MPs have assured traders in Gikomba market that their stalls will not be burnt down again as the road that was supposed to be built in the section of the market will be diverted.

Women Representative Rachel Shebesh, Starehe’s Maina Kamanda and Dagoretti North’s MP Simba Arati told traders to rebuild their stalls.

“We will pursue this further to ensure you continue with business,” said Shebesh.

The traders, however, expressed fears that they may undergo the same treatment should the MPs not keep their word on diverting the road.

“We are confused at the way the Government is handling this issue, as much as we want to continue with business we are worried that our stalls maybe razed again,” said Maina one of the traders in the market.

They said a notice was put up on Tuesday that they had 90 days to vacate the area that is part of the road corridor.

“We were not informed well on when to vacate since the notice had said vacation should be done within 90 days after Tuesday so ambushing us on day one is inhumane,” said another trader.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority had published a public notice on the vacation of road corridors citing the Quarry Road Extension that covers a section of Gikomba market as one of the link roads to be built.

Women, who form majority of traders who incurred losses in the Tuesday evening inferno, blamed Ms Shebesh for not advancing the business interests of women in the county.

“Although she found time to come and see what had happened, the damage has already been done yet she could have solved the matter earlier,” said Mama Chege.

She added that as a leader of all women in the county, Shebesh should ensure it does not happen again as it has become a trend of fire destroying stalls in the market every year.

Business stability

“Several families will be affected as there will not be any source of income till the businesses stabilises again, this is not the best way to evict traders from lands,” she added.

The traders are now in the process of identifying the sections where their individual stalls stood and rebuilding them hoping they do not fall victims of the urban road construction again.

The fire was said to have started as an explosion in one stall then spread to other stalls and stores in the section of the market that is near the footbridge.

Police said the cause of the fire had not been established established.