General Service Unit takes over Likoni ferry crossing

Friday, March 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Members of the public disembark from MV Kwale at the Likoni Crossing Channel in Mombasa. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

The General Service Unit (GSU) has taken over management of ferry crossing services at the Likoni channel in Mombasa to help enforce social distancing requirement to curb spread of Covid-19. 

Officers from the paramilitary unit were deployed at the mainland and island side of the channel early on Thursday hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for a takeover by the security agencies.

Despite Wednesday’s suspension of pedestrians from using ferries by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, people walking on foot were still using the vessels.

In a letter dated March 24 addressed to the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Managing Director Bakari Gowa, Macharia had directed that only passenger services vehicles be allowed to ferry passengers onboard the vessels in the next 30 days.

On Wednesday, Uhuru announced the National Police Service (NPS) and the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) would take charge at the channel to curb spread of the Covid-19.

Yesterday, pedestrians and motorists using the ferries were forced to queue, with order being witnessed throughout the day contrary to the usual chaotic scenes witnessed on daily basis.

However, contrary to the Covid-19 safety measures, the one metre social distancing requirements was not being enforced by the officers.

This came as Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart announced emergency mitigation and stimulus measures for families and businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Joho announced a Sh700 million nutritional support for 227,404 vulnerable households in Mombasa. Of the kitty, the county said it would pump in Sh200 million and asked the national government and other partners to chip in.

“The county intend to deliver food packages to all households in designated areas in event of a lockdown,” he said.

In Kilifi, Governor Amason Kingi all licensed businesses that have been forced to close down due to these safety measures will have their business licence payments prorated as a waiver in the next financial year to take care of the period they were not in operation.

“We are in the process of identifying the most vulnerable families in the county so as to cushion them from the effects of a slowed down economy due to these stringent measures.

We have already been allocated storage space in the county by the National Cereals and Produce Board where we will be storing all foodstuffs from both the county government and well wishers that will go towards assisting vulnerable families. The distribution mechanisms will be communicated,” he said.

Joho and Kingi also announced pay cut for the executive effective end of April 2020.

In Kwale, Governor Salim Mvurya announced closure of all open air second hand clothes markets in all towns and trading centres for the next 30 days in a bid to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. 

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