I don’t understand why President Uhuru fired the board of Kenya Ferry Services

In a gazette notice dated October 16th 2019, the President of the Republic of Kenya revoked the appointment of all board members of Kenya Ferry Services, effective immediately. Through the gazette notice therefore the board members including the chairman Dan Mwazo, members Daula Omar, Naima Amir, Philip Ndolo and Rosina Mruttu were fired. Kenyans through various platforms including social media hailed the move, although there are a few who wondered why the board members were fired before the cause of the accident is sorted. I on the other hand have been wondering why on earth the board was fired in the first place. Were they fired because a woman reversed and plunged into Indian Ocean? Was it because it took way too long before the dead bodies were retrieved from the bottom of the ocean? Or was it because of the way they managed the entire situation (that is their inability to control public perception)?

They were fired because a woman and her child plunged into Indian Ocean

The cause of the woman plunging into the Indian Ocean is still under investigations. As at now there have been three scenarios spreading as to why the woman plunged. The first scenario which is easy to rule out given the way the bodies were retrieved, is that the woman committed suicide by intentionally reversing her car. The fact that the woman’s body was recovered as holding tight on her baby girl suggests that she didn’t want to die, or at least she didn’t want her child to die. The second scenario is that the woman forgot to properly bring her car to a stop, either by not engaging the hand break or by putting the car on free gear. In either of the two possibilities, the vehicle reversed and plunged into the ocean. That could be pure accident with the woman solely to blame. The third and finally scenario is that the ferry started moving before ensuring that all passengers, including the woman who was last to board, were secured on the ferry. If the ferry started to move abruptly before the woman had managed to fully get on board, then the sudden forward motion of the ferry could have pushed her back hence plunging her into the ocean. This could be another accident scenario, but this time it is the ferry captain that is entirely to blame.

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If the board of Kenya Ferry Services was fired because a woman and her child plunged into Indian Ocean, I must say that is the height of injustice done to any human. Accidents happen, most of the time on our roads. There are accidents that happen (most of them) because of pure negligence by the drivers. There are accidents that happen because the police and NTSA do not care that road unworthy vehicles are on the road. There are accidents that happen due to poor road designs (hot spots), and there are accidents that happen for several accidental reasons. At no time, even when a bus carrying 50 or 60 passengers is involved in an accident and every single one of them perishes, do we hear that the top traffic bras or the board of NTSA has been fired. In Kenya for instance we have over 3,000 people die every year due to preventable road accidents. Once in a while, a very long while, you may hear of crackdown on PSVs, but after a day or two the chaos on our roads go back to normal. For example, last weekend, I traveled from Nakuru to Thika in a vehicle that arrogantly packed excess passengers through pure impunity. 3,000 Kenyans die on our roads every year but no government official, no board member, has ever been sacked as a sign of someone taking responsibility. I can bet my entire life that even after the next major accident that’s bound to happen, no one will be required to take responsibility.

The same argument can be extended to the buildings that have collapsed in Nairobi and elsewhere, killing hundreds of Kenyans. The county government officials that ought to inspect buildings under construction, those that approve shawdy plans, those that take bribes to look the other way, have never been sacked. So what exactly was special about the Kenya Ferry Services board members that warranted their sacking?

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I hope they were not sacked because a woman and a child plunged into Indian Ocean, whether or not the accident was caused by the woman or the ferry’s captain.

Were they sacked because they didn’t manage the entire frakas professionally?

If there is one thing that the accident helped lay bare was the fact that Kenya is incompetent at rescue missions. But the ferry accident is not the only accident that brought into sharp focus the inability of our rescue teams to recover bodies. On October 21st 2017, an helicopter crashed into Lake Nakuru killing all on board instantly. The bodies of those on board including those of Veronica Muthoni, Anthony Kipyegon and Apollo Malowa, the pilot were recovered, but bodies of John Mapozi and Sam Gitau are yet to be recovered to date. The search for the bodies of John Mapozi and Sam Gitau were stopped after a few days of search, but the same didn’t happen for the bodies of the woman and her child who plunged into India Ocean. It actually reached a point when I was questioning the need to continue with the search mission; even to a point where foreign agencies from South Africa and the Netherlands were being brought in to assist with the search.

Obviously, after several hours into the ocean, the woman and the child were already dead, and no amount of “find their bodies” search mission could undo that. Wouldn’t it be wise if we humans accepted death? That is, accepted the fact that a dead body buried in a known grave site is just as dead as a dead body buried deep into the ocean?

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That’s not the point though, the point is, were the board members of Kenya Ferry Services fired because they were unable to hide the fact that Kenya is incompetent in rescue missions? Why then didn’t those charged with finding the bodies of John Mapozi and Sam Gitau fired back in 2017? More so, those who died in the Lake Nakuru tragedy were Jubilee bloggers, people that were responsible for controlling public perception in the run-up to the second phase of Uhuru Kenyatta’s election as President. If the board members of Kenya Ferry Services were fired because of their inability to control public perception on government incompetence, then that’s another source of injustice.

In one of the articles reporting the firing of the board members, it is said that the board had written two cheques each worth Kshs 100,000, one to the husband of the woman, and another to her father. This move, it is said, also outraged Kenyans. In the way the article is framed, it is easy to draw conclusion that that was the reason the board members got their asses fired.

These or any other reason that could have led to their firing doesn’t really help, given that we really do not value human life. If we valued our lives we could have fired those responsible for all human errors that have caused fires including fire at JKIA, collapsed buildings, and continued road accidents that kill thousands of Kenyans mostly fueled by corruption. My question still remains, why did the President fire the board members of Kenya Ferry Services?

See also: Kenya Ferry Accident: A Kenya Of Cons And A Manipulative Government

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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