Kenya: Drama as Youths Demand Pay for Putting Out Market Fire

18 November 2019

Drama greeted Free Area market in Nakuru County on Monday morning, when youths demanded pay from Nakuru East MCA James Humphrey Mwaniki, saying they helped put out a fire that razed several stalls.

The group, primarily made up of young men, told Mr Mwaniki at the scene that it was first at the scene after the fire started at about 9am.

They said they arrived before the county fire fighters did, in response to the fire suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault.

"We know how many we were. We did a lot of work to ensure the fire did not spread. We demand our pay from you if not the county government," one told the ward representative.

Another one said, "The very first group had six members. I was there and even filmed a video for evidence."

NO PAY

However, the MCA told them they would not be paid since all they did was help neighbours in need.

"I appreciate you for a job well done but I'm not going to pay any one of you for being responsible. It is always good to help your neighbours when they are in trouble," said Mr Mwaniki.

The MCA also noted that he reported to the scene as soon as he was informed of the fire.

"I called the county emergency office. I'm glad that the fire engine arrived on time. It only took them about six minutes to arrive and stop the fire," he said.

COMPENSATION

Free Area market chairperson, Mr James Mwangi, said an electric fault occurred in one of the stalls as a person carried out repairs.

"An engineer had been called by a stall owner who wanted to move in. The stall owner wanted to carry out repairs first," he said.

The value of property destroyed in the fire was not immediately established and business people Gladys Nyathogora, Boniface Wainana and Damaris Nyaboke said most of the stock was stolen during the rescue.

"Most of us had not arrived from home. When we got here, we were shocked to see the stalls had been broken into and most of the property stolen," Ms Nyaboke said.

She added that they were not sure they would be compensated for their losses.

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