14 June 2014

Tanzania: Police Probe Mchikichini Market Fire

SPECIAL Zone Police in Dar es Salaam have embarked intensive investigations to establish the cause of the fire that razed properties belonging to petty traders at Karume Mchikichini Market in Ilala Municipality, in Dar es Salaam, to ashes.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Special Zone Police Commander, Suleiman Kova, said the investigation will involve officers from the Fire Brigade, Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), and forensic investigators.

He said it was a difficult task putting out the fire due to actual location of the market as fire trucks could not easily penetrate due to the number of lock up shops built so close to each other.

Over 90 per cent of petty traders who conduct their business at Karume Mchikichini Market yesterday woke up to find their properties reduced to ashes.

As a result of the fire that started around 10 pm, it is estimated that hundreds of traders failed to conduct any business as the fire kept on blazing until early Thursday morning. Although no fatalities were reported, a large part of the market including lock up shops went up in flames.

Ilala Municipal Mayor, Mr Jerry Silaa, who visited the area, said government was shocked, saying that it will try to find ways to mitigate the traders' losses.

" I understand that when someone takes on a loan from a bank there is a section in the contract known as 'Force Majore' which clearly states that the contract can be terminated if natural disasters such as floods and even fire occur," he said.

Mr Silaa noted that government understands how the traders have been affected, saying it wouldn't be fair to stop traders doing their businesses as many Tanzanians depend on the market for their livelihood. Ilala Municipal Marketing Officer, Athumani Mbelwa, said, "Ilala Municipal Council got part of its revenue from this market.

Between 6 and 8 million/- was collected each month and, a good number of Tanzanians earned a living from this market," he said. Commenting on the issue, several traders said that they had lost hope as they have suffered major losses.

"My friend, I have two children, both of them are in private schools and I have not finished paying school fees for one of them and now my business is no more. I had invested 20 million/- in my business," said Mr Paul Mboya, a trader. He added that 9m/- of the investment is a bank loan and he doesn't know how he will pay back the money.

Karume Mchikichini Market, Chairman, Jumanne Kongogo, said that they are planning to write official letters to various finance institutions so that the latter can carefully look into the matter


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