35-year old Mariam Kighenda and her 4-year old daughter Amanda Mutheu lost their lives on September 29, 2019 after their car slipped from a ferry and drowned in the Indian Ocean in Likoni.
Their bodies and car were retrieved 13 days after the unfortunate incident with the mother and daughter tightly embracing each other at the back seat of their vehicle.
2 years and some months later, it has now been revealed that the mother and daughter would have not died on the fateful day if safety measures would have been put in place on the MV-Harambee ferry that was ferrying them.
According to the Kenya Ferry Service officials, the Ferry, which is 30 years old, had faulty prows. They noted that the accident would not have occurred if the government would have repaired the prows, which would have prevented the car from falling into the water.
Kighenda’s car, which was the last one on the line, plunged into the ocean about 6 minutes after the ferry had taken off from Likoni mainland. It was heading for Mombasa Island.
“I cannot say that MV Harambee was in good condition. Its prows could not be lifted. They were just set above the water level,” Kennedy Mukhebu, a KFS engineer, told the inquest on the Likoni ferry accident which was presided over by Mombasa Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku.
Mukhebu was among those who witnessed the accident since he had also boarded the ferry on the fateful day. He added that the ocean turbulence might have also played a role in causing the accident.
KFS Managing Director Bakari Gowa also admitted that the MV Harambee ferry was not in good condition. He was put to task to explain why he had done nothing about it yet the matter had been brought to his attention.
“As much as general operations of the KFS is my responsibility, my hands are tied if there are no funds. It is the engineering unit that is responsible but I take responsibility for the operations within the facility,” Gowa said.