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OPINION: Why Gikomba market has always been on fire

By Mumbi Wambui
Gikomba market sits on a very prime land. Its worth billions of shillings! Its currently, on paper, owned by the County government of Nairobi.

We all know Nairobi is ran by cartels. These are the same cartels that have an insatiable appetite to grab anything and everything belonging to the public.

The yearly infernos that engulf Gikomba market are very much deliberate. Some say it’s a way to scam insurance companies, others say it’s when politicians want to chase away the current occupants inorder to bring new occupants…others say there is a religious angle to it given the fact that a nearby mosque is built on land hived off from Gikomba and has a youth group that is a law unto itself and is always harassing the traders.

Fellow Kenyans, it’s time we stopped burying our heads in the sand and just tackle this issue once and for all.

For starters, why is Gikomba always treated as a trivial market? The national and county markets are building modern markets all over this country, eg in Ngong, Kikuyu town and even Westlands but someway somehow conveniently leaves Gikomba out of the mix. Why?

The government of Kenya with all the security apparatus at its disposal cannot feign ignorance by telling us that it doesn’t know who are the cartels that are forever terrorising traders at Gikomba.

When I saw Karanja Kibicho at Gikomba and saying the government will install security cameras at the market, I just laughed because Kibicho is just playing to the gallery! He knows who the real culprits are ….but since it’s most likely his friends and people in both government and the opposition, he chose to play politics with the lives of the traders! What a shame!

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Gikomba is also caught up in the politics of Kamukunji and Starehe constituencies. Those politics are vicious and have always taken the tribal and religious angle. The government of Kenya cannot say it doesn’t know this.

Thing is, the government prefers to sit on the fence and leave the people to deal with their issues. Well, the issues are dealt with via fires, threats, intimidation and outright killings of people opposed to the cartels.

All this drama leaves the common wananchi to be the ones suffering. Our people eke out a living from Gikomba and are left at the mercy of the cartels. This is not Sicily where the Italian government ceded control to the Mafias.

This is Kenya! Can the government wake up and take charge of the situation! Btw, the government should know that Gikomba traders pay a layer of taxes..one, to the national government, two, to the county government, and three, to the cartels.

Surely in an independent Kenya this is a norm…???? 

Mumbi Wambui, is a political commentator and social analyst

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