Senators against move to transfer ferry services
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Senators from the Coast region have opposed an alleged plan by the Ministry of Transport to transfer troubled Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
Senators Mohammed Faki (Mombasa), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) and Issa Juma Boy (Kwale) claim allegations have been rife that plans are underway to transfer KFS functions to KPA.
KFS is currently the most convenient link between the mainland south and Mombasa Island in Mombasa.
Legislators claim proposed handing over of KFS to KPA violates Article 186 and Schedule 4 (2) of the Constitution, which provides that ferry services are functions of county government and should be transferred to the Mombasa County Government.
According to the lawmakers, Kenya Ports Authority Act that established it gives a specific mandate of managing ports, but does not extend this mandate to managing operations of ferries.
“Over the years, the management and operation of KFS has deteriorated, largely because of lack of investment by the national government,” Senator Faki said in a statement on Monday on behalf of the coastal leadership.
“KFS is instrumental to the well-being and livelihood of the people of Mombasa and the county in general.
Any material changes to the operations of KFS solely cannot be left to the national government.
It requires extensive consultations, including public participation before it is ratified,” he added.
Citing the incident of the drowning of the late Miriam Kighenda and her daughter in October last year, which he claimed is fresh in the minds of Kenyans, the Mombasa Senator held the importance of KFS cannot be underestimated.
“The service cannot be run as a department of KPA, which is also facing a myriad of challenges of its own,” he held.
According to him, the national government should, therefore, consider transferring the service under Article 187 to the County Government of Mombasa, as this will be a more prudent direction to take in the operations of KFS.
On his part, Senator Madzayo vowed to oppose the move, saying operations by KFS can be well handled by Mombasa