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Ferry tragedy: KPA disregards Raila's directive on dredging

Monday October 7 2019

ferry tragedy

Dredging goes on at Mombasa port on May 30, 2019. ODM leader Raila Odinga wants dredging stopped until the bodies of two people who drowned last week are recovered. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SIAGO CECE
By SIAGO CECE
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The dredging at the port of Mombasa is still on course despite African Union’s envoy Raila Odinga ordering a halt of the same to improve visibility to assist in the recovery of the body of a mother and her daughter who drowned a week ago.

A spot check by the Nation on Sunday revealed that a ship was still continuing with the dredging criss-crossing the channel from the port towards the deep sea, something that would still hamper the recovery mission.

On Saturday Mr Odinga asked the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to stop the dredging operations at the port because it had greatly hampered visibility in the ocean, delaying the search and retrieval of the bodies.

In a press briefing Sunday, Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said stakeholders were still in discussions on whether to halt the dredging, which is said to cost KPA millions of shillings daily.

“We are yet to agree on what should be done about the dredging. The relevant authorities are currently in talks,” he said.

DIVERS

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This comes even as the country expects arrival of a group of professional divers from South Africa who will join in the recovery of the bodies of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu.

After the talks, they will then commence the operations Tuesday with hopes of finding the bodies.

The private divers have been hired by Kighenda’s family which had received a Sh2 million donation from Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

Governor Joho had asked the government to allow Kenya Navy to allow private divers to be part of the rescue team.

The government says out of the 14 sections in the Likoni Channel that had been identified of possibly containing the sank vehicle, four have are still remaining as the rescue continues. The search has been hampered by a lot of challenges.

In a statement on Sunday, Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa said the search had been directed to the last four possible locations which were in a much more difficult terrain that requires a more cautious approach so as not to endanger the safety of the divers.

“Considering realities and depths involved, the divers can only stay submerged for not more than six minutes,” he said.

RAILA'S MANDATE

This implies that the exhaustive search for the locations of the lost bodies and the whole operation may take a bit longer.

He however appealed for patience as the government was hopeful that one of the four points will give positive results.

Pressure continues to mount on the government amid fears of diminishing hopes, seven days after the car and its occupants slipped off MV Harambee.

At the same time, Jubilee MPs have told civil servants to ignore roadside orders issued by Mr Odinga.

They said Mr Odinga has no powers to issue any orders, adding that such directives can only come from government officials.

Speaking on Sunday during a prayer service at Kithirune Methodist Church in Central Imenti, Meru County, and attended by Deputy President William Ruto, the leaders said Mr Odinga was taking advantage of the peace pact to usurp the President's powers.

They were Rahim Dawood (North Imenti), Moses Kirimi (Central Imenti), Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) and Halima Mucheke (nominated)

“Those orders are his own jokes. We urge all civil servants to ignore Mr Odinga’s directive; he has no authority over such,” Mr Gachagua said.

Additional report by DPPS