Fight for control of ferries goes to Supreme Court

By Paul Ogemba | Wednesday, Sep 12th 2018 at 08:53
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A ferry crossing from Likoni mainland to Mombasa ramp. The County Government wants to take over the management of ferries. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The County Government of Mombasa has taken its fight with the national Government over control of ferry services to the Supreme Court.

Through lawyer Paul Mwangi, the county government is seeking intervention of the apex court to overturn the decision of the Court of Appeal, which denied it the opportunity to collect money from ferry users.

“The Court of Appeal relied on unconstitutional and extraneous issues to deny the county opportunity to collect revenue from a facility that falls within its jurisdiction. Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the people of Mombasa will not benefit from their own facility,” said Mwangi.

The dispute over management of ferry services in Mombasa started in February 2016 when the county government took over the running of the ferry from Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) and started collecting revenue.

Dismissed claims

KFS then sued the county government and in November 2016, the High Court is Mombasa allowed their application and ordered the county to return management of ferry services to the national government.

The county appealed against the decision but the Court of Appeal dismissed their claims and allowed KFS to continue managing the ferries.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal held that management of Likoni and Mtongwe ferries is a function of the national government given that the Likoni Channel is not an inland lake but is part of international waterways assigned to the national government.

Mr Mwangi told the Supreme Court that the appellate court made a mistake by failing to appreciate the roles of the two levels of government in managing resources that have been devolved.

“They contradicted themselves by ruling that Kenya Ferry Services are entitled to collect revenues from managing the parking bays on either side of the water channel but that they must first obtain licence from the county government,” said Mwangi.

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