Kilifi lobby protest 'plans to sell' port

Taireni Association of Mijikenda (TAM) chaiperson Perter Ponda (center) with other members address a press briefing on July 1, 2019 in Kilifi town. [Maureen Ongala,Standard]

A Coast lobby group has opposed the planned privatisation of second container terminal at the Kenya Port Authority.

This comes ahead of debate by the National Assembly on the President’s memorandum on The Statute Law (miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2019.

Addressing journalists at a hotel in Kilifi, Taireni Association of Mijikenda Chairperson Peter Ponda urged Coast MPs to reject the amendments, noting the law was being used to blindfold the local community.

“If this amended law is set as ground rule, then it is only logical that it will be followed by other supplementary laws that will seal the fate of not only second container terminal but the ports of Mombasa, Lamu and Shimoni in that they will all be privatised and only selected few people would be beneficiaries of this privatisation. These ports are also national assets and any law that will affect them directly needs to be well informed,” said Mr Ponda.

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He maintained that the amendments of the Merchant Shipping Act to permit the handing over of the second container terminal to the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) was not about job creation.

Ponda accused a section of Mijikenda leaders of supporting such changes, noting that they were betraying their community.

“We are disheartened and disappointed that it is actually Mijikendas who are holding influential positions in the maritime policy informing and guiding lineup, but are being misused by the true promoters of this privatisation initiative. Even more disheartening is that it appears to be that these individuals have accepted to be used in this not-so-noble effort to dispossess Kenyans of their national assets and means of livelihood,” he said.

The lobby group has written to Cabinet Secretaries for Transport and Infrastructure, Finance and the Chairman of the Coast Parliamentary group faulting the way the privatisation is being done.

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Kenya Port AuthorityMerchant Shipping Act