President Uhuru Kenyatta has fired the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) board, just three weeks after a tragedy at the Likoni Channel.
The President revoked the appointment of the five board members in a Kenya Gazette notice dated October 17.
The chairman, former Taita-Taveta Senator Dan Mwanzo, was appointed in June. The members were Ms Daula Omar, Ms Naima Amir, Ms Rosina Mruttu and Mr Philip Ndolo.
Ms Omar and Ms Amir were appointed in June last year while Ms Mruttu in November, 2015.
Mr Mwazo’s daily presence during the recovery mission of the ill-fated vehicle did not save him from the axe.
The board’s sacking leaves KFS managing director Bakari Gowa hanging by a thread. His three-year term ended in June, with sources saying he is seeking to renew his contract.
Appointed in June 2016, Mr Gowa had previously served as the finance manager.
The government was heavily criticised in its handling of the Sepember 29 tragedy that led to the death of a woman and her daughter when their vehicle plunged into the Indian Ocean.
Ms Mariam Kighenda and daughter, Amanda Mutheu, died when their vehicle slid off the prow of mv Harambee midstream.
It took the skills of privately hired divers from South Africa to retrieve the vehicle and the bodies after Kenya Navy efforts proved fruitless.
On Wednesday, a post-mortem at Jocham Hospital revealed mother and daughter died of suffocation. Plans for their burial in Makueni County are under way.
The incident exposed KFS’ inability to deal with emergencies as it has no rescue team and it’s unlikely to have one soon.
It also emerged that KFS has been operating unseaworthy vessels that are way past their sell-by date, risking the lives of thousands of Kenyans.
The vessels have been in service for almost 30 years.
In the past three years, KFS has spent about Sh400 million on three ‘previously decommissioned’ ferries. It also spent Sh200 million to refurbish mv Kilindini and mv Harambee.
The other faulty ferries are mv Nyayo, mv Likoni and mv Jambo. They are prone to mechanical problems.
The government now seems determined to end the problems at the channel by building a bridge and the Dongo Kundu bypass.
However, these projects will take a while, if the government’s schedule is anything to go by.
President Kenyatta will be in Mombasa for Mashujaa Day celebrations this Sunday at the Mama Ngina Drive, just next to the Likoni Channel.