Release reports on Owino fire

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Posted  Friday, December 6   2013 at  02:00

Traders’ merchandise at Nakivubo Parkyard Market has once again been reduced to ashes. This is the fourth time fire is guting the market – the first was in 2009, then 2011 and twice this year.

As this newspaper reported yesterday, a lot of things remain unchanged even with the past incidents of fire – traders still leave their merchandise at their stalls instead of stores, food vendors still cook in the largely-cloth market and all stalls are made of wood.

Huge losses, estimated at billions of shillings, were reported. And once again, traders are crying about how they will pay back bank loans, how they will manage through the festive season and what they will do to take their children back to school. Genuine concerns.

But how many traders have explored the idea of insuring their merchandise? Even when some economic experts argue that the small-scale business makes insurance unattractive, it would still pay off in cases of a disaster like this.

And as traders make personal efforts to secure their merchandise, the police should do well to release reports on investigations about the past fires. This will not only restore confidence in the Force’s investigation abilities, but also illustrate that they are committed to ensuring that these fires do not become an annual occurrence.

When all these are rectified, the government should explore the construction of permanent structure at this market with clear sections for different commodity dealers. Otherwise, lumping together food vendors and their charcoal stoves and other merchandise will only postpone the problem.

Rushing with cash donations to the traders every time a disaster occurs can only sugarcoat the problem.

It is important that the traders and their leaders clean their houses and soberly reflect on what they want. Otherwise, we will continue to see the cycle of fire, tears/loss- as fire guts the market again.