By DAMA KALAMA
Coast human rights groups have declared a return of the Black Monday weekly demonstrations due to what they term as continued government impunity of handling issues affecting mwananchi.
The groups gave an example of the recent merging of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and the Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) which they say is illegal.
On Tuesday, the three agencies were merged under the Kenya Transport and logistics network KTLN, during an event that was undertaken by Board Chairmen of the parastatals held at the Kenya Ports Authority.
Haki Africa Human Rights Organisation executive director Hussein Khalid alongside the chairman of the Fast Action Business Community Salim Karama vowed that apart from to court to block the merger they would also start the weekly demonstrations beginning Monday next week
“We are resuming weekly demonstrations because no doubt the government has shown that it is determined to kill the coast economy. “
“We will exercise our constitutions rights by mobilizing residents to the streets to block implementation of this merger because it was done without due process,” said Khalid.
The players now say president Uhuru Kenyatta is ‘hiding’ behind executive orders, to conceal already illegal policies like the mandatory cargo transportation to Nairobi and Naivasha inland Depots and the illlegal Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) procurement deal.
He claimed that the bringing together the three agencies is meant to make use of the billions of shillings profits made by KPA and others in the merger so as to serve the Chinese SGR deal.
“Since Kenya railways has failed to meet its obligations to service the Chinese loan, it is disappointing to note that the state is now handing over the port to pay the loan,” alleged the executive director.
On his part Karama explained that the government has failed to consult key stakeholders and therefore the deal is illegal adding that that was why the group will pour into the streets until their grievances are heard.
“We hereby declare that we oppose this unconstitutional and illegal merger and demand its immediate withdrawal pending consultations and negotiations with all stakeholders.”
“failure to which we shall challenge it in court and or if necessary exercise our constitutional right under article 37 to picket and demonstrate,” warned Karama.
Kenya Ports board Chairman Major Retired Joseph Kibwana has welcomed the decision saying KPA is satisfied with the new move.
He expressed confidence in the new arrangement, saying it has worked efficiently in other countries including South Africa.
“As KPA we have looked at the draft agreements and we want to say that this is a good direction as it will go a long way in ensuring social development.”
“I want to report that the board has mandated me to sign the agreement, because we have gone through it and agreed as a team”, said Kibwana.
On Tuesday, treasury cabinet secretary Ukur Yattani presided over the signing of the network’s framework agreement at the Kenya Ports Authority.
Yattani reiterated that no jobs will be lost in the new merger amid rising concerns from coastal civil society groups over what they termed as regional economic sabotage.
“There have been a lot of reports that jobs will be lost, there is nothing like that, instead more opportunities will be created because the merger has now created efficiency, competitiveness and low cost of operation,” said the secretary.
On August 7, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed an executive order merging the operations of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and the Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC).