Traders at Kongowea Market in Mombasa County are counting losses amounting to about Sh3million after their stalls were destroyed by fire.
The small scale retailers had their stalls and merchandise, therein, including second hand clothes (mitumba) reduced to ashes.
“The fire started at night after curfew. We were told it was due to an electric fault. It is so unfortunate since we were at our homes and when we came to the market in the morning, we could not salvage anything,” Amos Kithunga, who trades in second hand clothes said.
Kithunga said he had restocked his shop, expecting to reap big and clear a loan he took to finance the business, only for the misfortune to strike.
“We have not seen any leader coming to console us for this loss, it is very unfair,” lamented the Mitumba seller.
Mr. Philip Sammy, in charge of traders’ security at the market, said he and colleagues were alerted about the fire but due to the curfew, they had to arrive at the scene in the morning.
“We are talking of huge losses here. We ask the County Government to intervene and assist us,” he noted.
Another mitumba seller, Mrs. Alice Achieng, said all her savings had gone up in flames.
“I am now jobless and all I ask from the government is to help us, as we do not know what to do next,” she cried.
Mr. Suleiman Shabal, a Mombasa businessman who visited the scene, yesterday, empathized with the traders and promised to lead a fundraising on Sunday in order to construct new stalls for those affected.
Speaking to KNA on Tuesday, Mombasa County Retail Market Superintendent, Mr. Shedrack Ndambuki, termed the incident an accident like any other.
“We are yet to establish the cause and assess the number of stalls destroyed by the fire,” he said.
Fire incidents have been rampant at the biggest market in the Coast region.
By Chari Suche