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Mombasa port workers re-elect Simon Sang as union secretary general

By Philip Mwakio and Patrick Beja | April 14th 2016 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

The giant Dockworkers Union re-elected secretary general Simon Sang is carried shoulder high by some of his supporters as they celebrate his victory outside the KPA headquarters after a day long elections, April 13, 2016. Sang retained his secretary general's seat after wining in a landslide margin. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].

Simon Sang has been re-elected as the Dock Workers Union (DWU) secretary general.

In his victory speech yesterday, Mr Sang promised to continue defending workers' rights but not through strikes.

"DWU has been viewed as a militant union fond of strikes. We should try to correct this notion," he said.

Sang, who will be serving his third term, said his team would use dialogue as a key strategy in labour matters. He added that for the past six years, strikes at the Port of Mombasa had become a common feature.

"We shall try as much as possible not to invoke the common labour weapon- strike- so that we are not misunderstood even more," Sang said. "But it does not mean we will abandon our quest for workers' rights as we strive to ensure that the docker is a well remunerated employer," he added.

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Sang won the polls with a landslide, garnering 2,701 votes against his closest rival Bakari Bweta's 365.

About 4,500 out of 5,800 workers participated in the election which Bweta said was poorly organised.

As Sang's supporters broke into song and dance at the Kenya Ports Authority boardroom, Mr Bweta described the polls as a sham. Bweta, however, said he would not seek legal redress.

Sang's opponents complained of missing or inadequate ballots in the main polling stations, Kenya Ferry Services and Mombasa port. They said some voters were locked out as their names were missing in the sectional payroll. The payroll served as the main voter register to curb multiple voting. Voters were only allowed to vote in their sections.

For Sang's supporters, the huge victory margin was a sign that he was the workers' choice. They sang and drank traditional sour milk (mursik) before joining Sang in a convoy of vehicles along Jomo Kenyatta Avenue early yesterday morning.

Sang will now serve as the General Secretary until 2020 after winning the post first in 2006 when he defeated former Changamwe MP Kennedy Kiliku. Sang's other challengers Abdalla Randani got 280 votes while Katana Ware managed a paltry 78 votes. Anthony Olode will deputise Mr Sang after polling 1,001 votes.

Mohamed Sheria was elected the national chairman after garnering 987 votes, Joseph Makeru got 1,450 votes to claim the national treasurer's post while Zuhra Idd is the national gender chairperson after polling 879 votes.


THE STANDARD INSIDER

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