BY PETER KOMBE
Coast legislators have warned the government they will seek legal process if it fails to shelf its intention to privatise the Second Container Terminal at the port of Mombasa claiming this will be going against the local people’s wishes.
Reading the joint communiqué, the Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki expressed fears the government’s move could be driven by external forces bent on reaping from the terminal that has been posting billions of shillings in returns.
“If this government listens to its people, then it should withdraw the privatization plan and explain the context and legal implications through public participation as enshrine in the Constitution,” they said.
PROFIT MAKING ENTITY
According to the MPs the will and aspiration of the local people is to see the profit making parastatal continue to be management by the government and not by nondescript private companies without proven capabilities of running port operations.
The lawmakers made a retinue of action plans they said they would use before resorting to the court process if the National Assembly and the Transport cabinet secretary fail to hear their pleas to stop the privatisation plan.
“Court process will be our last resort if the government continues with the privatisation plan that lacks our people’s blessings,” they added.
They believe the Kenya Ports Authority as the capacity and manpower to run not only the Second Container Terminal but the entire port facility with assured profit that can surpass different targets put by the government.
Through the public-private-partnership, the MPs said this could open the days of public participation which is crucial in making the right decision of who can run the terminal with public interest as its driving force.
Changamwe legislator Omar Mwinyi alleged the government is not transparent on the whole issue of privatization calling on Transport CS James Macharia to give out a formal notice on the same.
“The government is not transparent on this issue and this calls for concerted efforts between civil societies, our people and we to ensure this does not happen without our involvement on every stage of the process,” he said.
According to him the Coast region leadership will fight tooth and nail to ensure no single berth of the port is privatised or handle by private entities.
As representative of the people, Mr Mwinyi warned that they would not ‘sit back’ and allow illegalities to happen under their watch because they are the voices and eyes of their electorates.
‘We are the voices of our people. Therefore, as their representatives we will ensure none of their dear resources within the region are disposed without their consent,” he said.
His Kaloleni counterpart Paul Katana was more categorical that the privatisation plan should be stopped immediately and give way to proper negotiations with the regional leadership before any action is taken by the government.
Saying why they are opposed to the idea of privatizing the terminal, Mr Katana noted that the ongoing plan does not have the interests of the public at heart.
“As leaders of this region, we cannot allow a process of that nature to continue while our interests are not factor in,” he said adding that those pushing for privatisation had a ‘hidden agenda’ and were being driven by selfish interests.
According to him all stakeholders directly or indirectly linked to port operations should be brought on board so as to give their opinions or views for their interest and that of the public at large.
Among those who made ‘technical appearances’ for the half-day seminar were Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo and his Msambweni counterpart Suleiman Dori.
Those in full attendance were Senator Mohammed Faki (Mombasa), MP Mishi Mboko (Likoni) and Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita).
Others were MP Ken Chonga (Kilifi South), Teddy Mwambire (Ganze), William Kamoti (Rabai) and women representative Ruweida Obbo (Lamu).