A few months ago, we talked about the looming crisis with the Likoni ferry and equated it to a ticking time bomb.
At that time, the story focused on the conditions of the ferries, two of which had lived past their expiry date with one having an engine problem that would cause it to stall at any point in the ocean.
Three months down the line things are still the same and getting worse by the day as an imminent threat to the lives of commuters beckons.
Early this month, the President dismissed one of the officers in charge of the ferry services in a move that was seen as to ease the trouble that has been facing the sector.
Mombasa County Commissioner Mr. Solomon Marwa has in the past openly condemned officers in charge of the ferry for swindling the money made from the ferry services without putting into the consideration the maintenance of the ferry as well as the welfare of the travelers.
On Wednesday, the police had to shoot in the air to disperse and control the commuters who were tired of waiting and were now scrambling for the ferry.
It is estimated that more than 300,000 people use the ferry daily to cross to and from the mainland and the situation has been made worse with the ageing ferries.
On Wednesday, there was a hustle at the ferry as passengers who had waited for hours rushed for the ferry stumbling over each other.
The police who were in the mainland were forced to shoot into the air in an effort to control them but little came for the shots fired.
Currently, there are three ferries and on Wednesday, two of them had been set aside for motorists, leaving only one for passengers which could not contain all of them.
The passengers got impatient of waiting and rushed for the ferries that had been set aside for the motorists to use.
On 24th of January this year, the ferry, MV Nyayo was withdrawn to be fitted with a new engine after constantly experiencing breakdowns.
Later in the day, another ferry MV Kwale was grounded for mechanical problems leaving only two ferries to serve both people and vehicles.
This is the first time problems are experienced at the ferry. The better part of last year was ruled with chaos at the ferry with the worst being the point where the ferry broke down in the middle of the journey causing some scary passengers to dive into the ocean.
It should be noted that the ferry carries thousands of people and that any mistake committed puts thousands of lives at risk.
There are charges that are taken from every motorist that uses the ferry with millions collected daily but where that money goes is a puzzle in itself.
Where is the money that is usually collected daily from the cars? Where does this money go? These is how the charges are;
Now, let us be realistic here, a total of 5000 vehicles pass through this channels every day. Let us give them an average of 300 shillings per vehicle. This implies that at least one point five million shillings is collected every day. Where does this money go? Why are the stakeholders quiet about the issue? Do they know that the lives of thousands of Kenyans are at risk?
The government has to wake up from its slumber and act swiftly before another calamity befalls this nation.
Article by Juma Fred.