By: NGANGA THAIRU
Kiambu Governor William Kabogo yesterday absolved his government and instead blamed a cartel for the Sunday morning arson attack at Thika Madaraka Market.
The blaze drove thousands of traders out of business.
He said the cartel controlled the market for many years and had requested the county government to lease it from them.
The county rejected this offer and it may be the reason for the arson, Kabogo said.
“Markets are a function of the county government and we shall not allow individuals to take the law into their hands,” he told journalists in Ruiru after attending a groundbreaking ceremony for Tatu City Industrial Park.
Following the market fire, some traders raided the home of Kamenu MCA Elizabeth Muthoni and burnt her house and a car in a retaliatory attack.
The traders accused her and the county government of planning to evict them.
Kabogo asked leaders to stop politicising the matter.
On Monday, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a and her Kabete counterpart Ferdinand Waititu, accused the county government of plotting to flush out the 5,000 traders from the market.
But Kabogo refuted the claims and said county fire brigade was repulsed by the arsonists when they went to put out the blaze.
The governor expressed shock that the leaders did not address the burning down of the MCA’s house and car.
Kabogo urged police to investigate the raid and arson and prosecute the culprits.
He said the county government will rebuild the market.
The county chief said Sh100 million had already been allocated for rehabilitating the facility.
The World Bank-funded project was yet to be implemented because traders refused to be moved for the construction, he said.