Dock Workers Union officials meet to unlock poll stalemate
By Patrick Beja
| June 7th 2021
The Dock Workers Union (DWU) is making efforts to resolve a dispute over preparations for this year’s elections, which stalled last month.
The DWU leadership is today set to meet with a group of candidates that recently went to court after some union officials, led by general secretary Simon Sang, decided to use the 2016 election board to conduct this year’s elections.
Yesterday, Mr Sang said they were set to meet those who went to court, including candidates for the general secretary position Said Chande and Renson Thoya as well as national chairman Mohamed Sheria and vice-chairman Gunda Kaneno.
“We are planning to meet the claimants tomorrow (today) and explain our position as National Executive Committee that we are ready to form a new election board. We want to agree with the claimants before we can register consent in court on Tuesday,” said Mr Sang.
The meeting is also set to discuss the NEC’s proposal to have the elections conducted on June 24, even as some members want the polls done on June 17.
The NEC had also come up with some eight members, some from Kenya Ports Authority, to serve in the nine-member election board, and end the latest trouble standing in the way of conducting the elections. The other member is to be decided later, according to Mr Sang.
“As NEC, we feel June 17 is too close. We need time to prepare for the election materials, including ballot papers. We are consulting with a view to signing the consent in court by Monday next week,” Sang explained yesterday.
The DWU National Executive Committee (NEC) proposal is subject to consent expected to be entered in court with a group of aspirants for the position of general secretary.
The NEC team, under the national chairmanship of Mohamed Sheria, last Monday met at the union headquarters in Mombasa, where it proposed the election date and the structure of a board to conduct the polls, in what was seen to be a step towards finally concluding the elections.
Also present in the meeting was Sang, who has been in a supremacy tussle with the chairman since the last union elections in April 2016.
Mr Sheria said NEC proposed that it would present four slots of the nine-member election board, while the aggrieved party will also have four.
The other member is to be presented by the registrar of trade unions in the proposed deal to unlock the elections that have failed to take off since April this year.
“We do not have a deal yet, until we enter into consent with the other party in court. But I can say there is light at the end of the tunnel after the union board came up with a proposal for the date of the elections, and how the election board will be constituted,” Sheria explained.
He added: “All we are trying to achieve is a level playing ground in the impending elections, and I hope everyone will finally be satisfied.”
The elections were first scheduled for April 15, then pushed to May 13, and May 20, before landing in court following a disagreement.
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