The dark hours of the night hold the greatest evils. It is usually the opportune time to strike mainly because its a time when our guard is down and no one sees( except for our ‘hardworking’ watchmen). It is therefore easy to get away with crime at this time.Case in point is Gikomba Market and its strings of fire tragedies. This market has a history of hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Being the largest market in this side of Sahara, it is divided into 15 sections that have all experienced a fire outbreak at one time.
The latest fire tragedy has left 9 families heartbroken and at least 60 more diverting their resources to tend to their wounds. Many point it to arson but the principle of prosecution is evidence which apparently, no one has and if they do they never reveal.
Let us not forget that in 2017 following another fire tragedy in the same market, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a probe whose results and findings have never been released. The then Devolution Minister, Mr. Mwangi Kiunjuri promised stern action but it seems it was all talk and no action.
Every time there is a fire in Gikomba, the government is quick to say there will be rebuilding of stalls which leaves me wondering; Are our resources( yes I’m talking about the tax you and I pay) geared towards recovery and reconstruction rather than prevention, mitigation and response?
Speaking of response, the Nairobi county fire brigade, who are tasked in fire disaster response, are slow in their job due to inaccessibility brought about by human and traffic congestion coupled by narrow street patterns. Are we not tired of hearing about fire in Gikomba? If you happen to take a look at the history of fire incidences in Gikomba, you will realize the following trend:
- Most fires start at night
- It takes 5-7 hours for the fire to be completely put out.
- It is never clear what is the cause of the fire
- Police officers always promise investigations that we will never know of.
- Even after past fire incidences, there has been no effort whatsoever to put fire preparedness and mitigation procedures in place.
Gikomba market lies in Kamkunji constituency which is the turf for area mp Yusuf Hassan should work to bring this menace to an end. Its about time that we get to know who is behind the fire and why.
I believe that market has a market superintendent who should help in bring this to an end. This time, we should demand the reports of this investigations that are supposedly carried out. This time, we should demand that there should be no more deaths!