Nairobi Regional Commissioner (RC) Wilson Njega has called on traders at the busy Gikomba market to cooperate with the government as it seeks to modernize it and make it accessible.
Njega moved to set the records straight saying that a few of the traders who do not want to comply with what the majority agreed on are using the media to peddle lies.
He said that they had a problem with Kwale road where the traders were resisting to pave way saying that it is not right for a few people to block access for so many people since Gikomba is one of the biggest markets in the country.
“All of you are aware of the nightmare that is accessing the market so it is in the interest of the traders and the general public for the NMS to complete the access roads for the benefits of everyone,” said the RC.
He said that for those who are affected there is a market that is under construction which will accommodate over 2,000 traders and the construction is being fast-trucked by the state department for housing so that they can accommodate the many traders who do not have space.
“We expect the market to be complete by the end of this month which is two weeks from now so that we can accommodate many more traders in a good business environment while the others will be able to do the stalls because the market cannot accommodate everyone,” said Njega adding that the stalls will remain as long as they are not blocking the access roads.
Addressing the press in his office at Nyayo house Wednesday, Njega said that there was a fire a few months ago which destroyed several of the businesses and they agreed with the traders through their representative that as the investigations continue they will make way for access roads because in these informal settlements when there is a fire outbreak there is huge losses to property due to the lack of access roads.
The RC said that the traders were in total agreement that the access roads will be left clear and after that the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) pegged the access roads so that they could be cleared for easy access even for traders and their customers.
“Many people complied and where the structures were burnt they did not bring them back but some attempted to rebuild on the marked areas, I heard some people in the media saying that they were only given two days’ notice which is not true because the fire occurred over two weeks and that engagement has been going on ever since,” said Njega.
He clarified that the government is not destroying structures and the move was an agreement between the traders and all the stakeholders and NMS have set aside funds to construct the three main access roads and the other feeder roads.
He said that the marking of the road was done over one and a half weeks ago and asked members of the public not to follow the interest of a few people who want to override the rights of thousands who need access to the market on a daily basis.
“Adequate notice was given and some traders removed their structures, we will continue working in a civilized manner and let no one lie to themselves that they can be able to grab or privatize Gikomba market through dubious means because the government will not allow that to happen. Interior Principal Secretary (PS) Karanja Kibicho made it clear that the market will still remain as traders land even if people keep putting it on fire,” said Njega.