Muslims for Human Rights chairperson Khelef Khalifa and rapid response officer Francis Auma have been released after their arrest on Thursday morning at the Likoni Ferry Crossing Channel.
The duo was released on a KSh10,000 cash bail each. They will be arraigned on Friday, February 19, and charged with creating a disturbance and obstructing other motorists from crossing to the mainland side.
Khalifa and Auma were arrested after they protested against the monopolisation of payment of ferry services by mobile money method “M-pesa”.
Khalifa and Auma in the company of other activists were protesting after one of them was restricted from crossing to the mainland side for lacking money on his mobile wallet and wanted to pay cash.
Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) say the protests created traffic along the island motorist lanes, but the activists insist they were peacefully protesting against the agency’s cashless payment that discriminates against users without M-Pesa.
In a video, Khelef Khalifa was hurled away from the scene by coast guards from the Kenya Navy, after which KFS said the situation calmed.
Kenya Ferry Services announced the cashless payment system in October 2020 for motorists on Mombasa Island or the mainland side.
“We are glad to inform our customers that the company has introduced cashless payment solution, which will enable customers pay toll charges with M-Pesa,” read their statement.
Vehicles falling under that system included saloon cars, pickups, trucks, trailers, buses, fuel tankers, handcarts and motorcycles.
Safaricom’s M-pesa was the only cashless payment method launched, using a USSD dialler *721#.