BY PETER KOMBE AND MEZA MWANZA
Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi wants the government to engage the local leadership for consultations before re-implementing its directive compelling all imported from Port of Mombasa to Nairobi be transported by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Mr Mwinyi, speaking at Chaani Airport Secondary School on August 10, 2019, expressed concern this would ‘kill’ the road industry and cause massive layoff of Kenyans.
“Before the government re-implements the suspended directive, let’s sit down and talk about its pros and cons. Otherwise a one-sided decision can be catastrophic in job losses,” he said.
Over a week ago, through the Transport cabinet secretary James Macharia the government issued a directive for importers to use SGR to transport their cargo to Nairobi before suspending the same after hue and cry from stakeholders.
The stakeholders of road transport and others in the industry protested the rule saying it was against the World Trade Organisation agreement that rules on trade facilitation to allow free cargo by the most effective means which Kenya is a signatory.
Saying dialogue is the way to go, Mr Mwinyi asked the government to review its stand and allow other interested parties to choose their means of transport from the point of entry – the port.
The lawmaker also wants the Kenya Ports Authority to give priority of employment to the locals who view the port as their only asset just like coffee and tea for Central and Rift regions respectively.
“The port is their livelihood and it is fair they ripe from it just like their brothers and sisters who benefit from their immediate resources in the country,” he said.
In his response as the chief guest at the function, the KPA managing director Dr. Arch. Daniel Manduku promised fairness when it came to job opportunities at the state facility.
“The port is a public entity and therefore there is no discrimination when it comes to employment but being in the Coast region the locals are entitled to its benefits,” he said.
Turning to the school, the MD promised to donate twenty computers to the special Airport Secondary School still under construction for challenged students.
Knut Kilindini branch secretary Dan Aloo asked the KPA management to consider employing the dozens of youths who remained unemployed even after completing their studies in the county.
Airport Special School principal Mercy Mwandeje said the facility would be of its kind in the entire county.
“Once completed this facility will relieve parents from the burden of ferrying students to and from Thika High School for their challenged children,” she added.
According to her the school was started in 1965 with a total of 240 pupils who were challenged differently.
Currently, the school has a total of 50 staff members out of which 10 are TSC employees.
The school has registered 21 students for this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in October.