Trouble is looming at Dock Workers Union with asection of Some officials calling l for fresh elections in six months to remove general secretary Simon Sang.
The anti-Sang camp is led by chairman Mohamed Sheria, vice chairmanGunda Kaneno, Sang’s deputy Anthony Olonde, national treasurer Joseph Sialo Makero, gender chair Zuhura Iddi, and executive board member Salim Bambaulo.
For now, the anti-Sang camp want to lobby 24-man union board to be ratify the move and include all union members. Sheria is against any privatisation plans of the second container terminal (CT2).
Fear is,should the CT2 be privatised, at least 4,000 workers will lose their jobs.
Sang is accused of using the privatisation issue to create fear among port workers and incite them against the union officials opposed to his style of leadership.
Sang has said Sh27 billion CT2 has been earmarked for privatisation, with the Kenya National Shipping Line and the
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) set to be given the rights to run the facility.
Sang says once the privatisation is complete, the KNSL will be used to clear cargo at the facility with the help of the firm owned by an Italian family.
In a letter dated February 25 and signed by Sang, the general secretary asked KPA boss Daniel Manduku to license the Dock Labour Board to provide the services.
The services include lashing and unlashing, security on board vessels, watch keeping, sign on, chipping and painting, and any other service relating to ship operations which KPA does not provide.
Sang move has divided the union with
Sheria and Olonde are baying for Sang blood.
Dock Workers Union and a parliamentary committee have separately demanded for answers over hurried intention to privatise the multi-billion shillings Kenya Ports Authority’s second container terminal.
The cashstrapped Kenya National Shipping Line is reportedly in talks with KPA with a view to operate and maintain the Sh30 billion terminals built by the Japanese and handed over to the government.
Mediterranean Shipping Company, an Italian firm which has about 20pc shares in KNSL has been tipped to run the terminal if the proposal sails through.
KPA used to own over 80pc shares in the KNSL more of which it has offloaded to MSC, hence, is likely to lose control of the port.
Members of the public investments committee warned last week that Kenya would lose big if the plan to privatise the second container terminal is implemented.
According to the MPs who are investigating the deal led by PIC chairman Abdulswamad Nassir, the proposal would result in the creation of a special purpose vehicle to run the KPA facility occasioning a possible loss of revenue earned by the ports authority.
The Nassir-led committee said the privatisation plan is illegal since the maritime shipping Act bars shipping lines from operating a port.
“The Act says a shipping line cannot operate a terminal. As at now, KPA and KNSL are discussing an illegality,” the Mvita MP declared.
Nassir said parliament would write to the registrar of companies for information on the local owners of MSC apparently to unmask some powerful operatives who are suspected to be using KNSL to privatise the port of Mombasa through the backdoor.
The container terminal takeover fiasco is reminiscent to a similar scenario that played out in the proposal by Kenya Airways to take over JKIA. Ironically, both deals fall under Transport ministry whose CS is the untouchable James Macharia.
Earlier plans were that the government would use the second container terminal to position Mombasa as the reference port of the Indian Ocean. The terminal was intended to boost the port’s capacity for larger container vessels to dock and containers hauled by SGR to various destinations in East and Central Africa.
On the other hand, the dock workers union has warned that if the privatisation is effected, over 4,000 employees would lose their jobs.
“It is easy to be simplistic and think that CT2 lease will only affect two or three berths.After one year they will enter into concession with other shipping lines and take over entire business in the port including conventional cargo handling berths,” said Simon Sang, the union general secretary.
In a statement, Sang accused PS for Maritime Affairs Nancy Karigithu of being the architect of the deal “in a bid to get back at the port where she failed to become managing director”.
Sang regretted that the PS who is a former director-general of Kenya Maritime Authority has split the union as a way of silencing opposition to enable MSC through KNSL to take over container terminal. She is fashioning the deal as aimed at promoting blue economy which is false, the unionist pointed out.
“Mohamed Sheria and Antony Olonde have been compromised by Karigithu to divide the union so as to facilitate the planned privatisation. That is why they have submitted a memorandum to the PS accepting the privatisation without members input,” said Sang
“Some of our officials are ignorantly made to believe that privatising the 2nd container terminal will create jobs. There are no new jobs in the facility since people are already working there. The implication is the opposite – jobs will go,” Sang said.