Three top managers at the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) have been sacked.
The far-reaching decision by the parastatal's board of directors came 48 hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta made a surprise visit to the crisis-prone Likoni crossing channel.
Sources at the KFS said Managing Director Musa Hassan Musa, Chief Engineer George Nyadero and Operations Manager Anthony Muzungu were sent home after a day-long meeting chaired by Transport PS John Musonik.
Mr Musa was sent on terminal leave and will be succeeded in an acting capacity by Mr Bakari Gowa, who was the finance manager until Wednesday. Mr Nyadero and Mr Muzungu were sent on early retirement.
“The transport principal secretary was here (KFS headquarters) very early in the morning before he convened the board of directors meeting at 9 am,” the source said.
During the seven-hour meeting, the top managers were summoned individually to appear before the directors.
“Their faces said a lot after emerging from the grilling and one could tell the ominous verdict from their reaction and body language,” the source said.
Transport CS James Macharia confirmed the sacking on Wednesday evening, saying he concurred with the board’s action.
“Yes, the MD was told to hand over to his finance manager,” said the CS.
The three were said to have been sacked on account of mismanagement.
The President’s impromptu visit to the Likoni crossing on Monday put the KFS chief on the spot as he struggled to explain the problems the parastatal faced.
According to those who accompanied President Kenyatta, the MD had a difficult time explaining to him what is ailing the ferry services.
Earlier Wednesday, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the government would speed up the building of two new ferries at a cost of Sh1.9 billion in Turkey.
The ferries are meant to reduce the crippling transport crisis at the Likoni channel, which sometimes delays commuters by up to three hours besides exposing them to safety hazards by drifting towards the open sea.
Last year, Mr Musa said the new ferries would be delivered in November this year. Mr Balala, however, said President Kenyatta wants the building speeded up.
Mr Balala said when the President made the surprise visit to the channel on Monday, he was unhappy about the sorry state of the vessels.
“The Head of State encountered a ferry which had stalled mid-stream (in) the channel due to mechanical problems,” Mr Balala said.
“And when the President visited the KFS workshop in Likoni, he found it in (a) pathetic state to an extent that it could not be used for ferry repairs. He also found out that poor management was among the challenges crippling transport at the channel,” Balala added.