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Mombasa residents demo over port lease standoff

Youths and seafarers in Mombasa yesterday held a peaceful protest over Mombasa port lease standoff.

The youths held a procession along Moi Avenue, Digo and Jomo Kenyatta Avenues to urge some local MPs to change their hard stance over a Government plan to revive Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) and lease a container terminal at the port of Mombasa.

In the controversial deal, KNSL is expected to run the (second) terminal with its partner Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in a Sh2 billion a year lease to be paid to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

MSC with a large fleet of cruise and containerised ships has offered to employ 2,000 seafarers annually for five years in an agreement signed by Government

KPA has 53 per cent stake in KNSL while MSC carries 47 per cent.

President of the Mombasa Youth Assembly (MYA) Ali Sudi Ali, yesterday asked the legislators to rescind their decision to oppose the Government plan to ensure youths get jobs lined up in the blue economy sector.

"Our leaders are already in the know over the economic benefits arising out of harnessing the blue economy. We do not see the need to block efforts geared towards empowering the many jobless youths," Mr Ali Sudi Ali.

Ali presented a petition to the office of Mvita MP and chairman of the Public Investment Committee (PIC) Mr Abdulswamad Nassir, after the street demonstration.

Coast legislators led by Nassir and Mombasa senator Mohamed Faki recently demanded that the running of the Sh27billion (second) terminal be subjected to an international tender.

The MPs claimed the Government leasing deal was shrouded in secrecy and asked for a thorough public participation to be conducted before leasing.

Seafarers and Mombasa Youth Assembly members in a peaceful demonstration a long Mombasa streets. (Omondi Onyango, Standard)


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