NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – On a normal day, hundreds of traders in Gikomba Market are busy transacting their business but on Tuesday, they were counting losses following Monday night’s fire.
The fire extensively damaged stalls on Kwale road, barely two weeks after another fire broke out on the same route.
Traders who spoke to Capital FM News painted a picture of desperation as they tried to salvage pieces of iron sheets from their shacks.
“We the normal citizens who are poor now have nothing…who did we wrong?” Jim Nyakado a fish vendor said looking his stock of fish that was burnt in the inferno.
“The fish was brought all the way from Lake Victoria amounting to Sh70,000…who will refund the money?”
Another trader Roselyn Nagiso said: “We have been left with nothing… empty handed. How will the Government help us?” she posed.
“We want to know where Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is and the Senator.”
Most of them wondered why the County Government had only one fire engine and as if that was not enough still responded sluggishly, often running out of water.
The fire engines also had great challenge accessing the area because of the overcrowded, narrow streets.
“It was a huge problem accessing some areas,” one of the officers involved in the operation said amid insults from angry youths.
“Just go back… why are you coming when it’s too late? Leaves us alone!” a trader could be heard saying.
The emotional traders have asked the County Government to provide building materials to help them rebuild their stalls.
“It has happened, they should now help us build again…we solely rely on these businesses,” Peter Ngigi a trader said.
They said no politician had visited the scene of the fire and saw the media and their only hope of airing their grievances.
Beatrice Chepkorir lost over Sh100,000 of her investment of clothing materials.
“We have been highly affected but my worry is not the loss; not a single leader has come to console us, are we different from the rest of Kenyans?” a teary Chepkorir wondered.
“It’s our tradition to console with those who are mourning… we don’t want to say they hate us but why neglect us now.”
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