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Low turnout, confusion mar dockers' polls

NATIONAL
By Philip Mwakio | June 25th 2021

ITF representative Gladys Chepkorir votes during the Dock Workers Union (DWU) elections at the Container Terminal Engineering department in Mombasa County. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Several Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) unionisable staff were yesterday denied a chance to vote because they could not produce payslips.

Other voters complained that the names of their preferred candidates were not on the ballot papers.

Some said they could participate in the exercise due to their work schedules. There were nine polling stations inside the fortified port of Mombasa.

Only six voters turned up in Kisumu while Naivasha had five and Lamu registered 100 voters.

“People have voted peacefully. Voter turnout was good and counting has started at the Kenya Ferry facility, Nairobi ICD, Lamu, and Kisumu,” said Dock Workers Union chair Mohamed Sheria.

But said Selestine Osoo who is vying for the treasurer’s position, disagreed.

“There were instances where ballot boxes arrived late. In other cases, names of the aspirants were missing. The election must be repeated,” Osoo said. 

Antony Odero, who is vying for assistant general secretary’s post, said many members were turned away because they did not have payslips.

“Several voters did not have the payslips. Others gave up because of the long queues at the printer,” said Odera.

Edward Opiyo, who was vying for the general secretary’s post said the exercise was peaceful.

“Security was perfect although the exercise started late. It picked up quickly and for me, I expect nothing but victory,” said Opiyo. 

Long and gruesome

The 4,400-odd KPA unionisable workers headed to the polls amid raging supremacy battle between the chair and the secretary general.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Mombasa cleared the last hurdle yesterday after throwing out a petition by a group of candidates opposed to the manner in which the polls were organised.

Kanga Maganga, Abubakar Mohamed, Omar Masumbuko, and Abdullahi Siyat moved to court to challenge the elections.

Campaigns at the port have been long and gruesome after the elections were moved from April 15 to May 13 and then to May 20 when a group of aspirants challenged the manner in which the election board had been set up.

The court and the Registrar of Trade Unions opposed the appointment of the 2016 board to preside over this year’s elections forcing the National Executive Committee to name a new team and set today’s date.

Those seeking the general secretary’s post are Renson Thoya, Mohamed Mabanda, Said Chande, Harrison Lusigi, Edward Opiyo, Majengo Wara, Harry Arigi, Athman M Athman and Abubakar Mohamed.

The candidates for the chair’s post are Ramadhan Ferunzy, Sylvenus Chilumo, Victor Aduda, Mohamed Mwasera, Richard Visao, Mwinyi Mwasaria, Moris Mayega, Rashid Mwagasare, Bob Ria and Edgar Alusa.

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