A section of Coast legislators have vowed to move to court to block government plans to privatise the Sh27 billion second container terminal at the port of Mombasa.
The more than 10 MPs Monday said they would go to court if their efforts to stop the proposed changes contained in the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Parliament fail.
Speaking on behalf of the leaders at Royal Court Hotel in Mombasa, Mombasa Senator Mohammed Faki called on the National Assembly Transport Committee to take up the matter for investigations.
“Once the committee takes up the issue, then they would involve the public if we are to do the privatisation but for now we do not see the reason of giving the terminal to private hands. The MPs here are going to use their means to block the changes in Parliament and if they don’t succeed, then we will move to court,” said Mr Faki.
According to the proposed changes, the Merchant Shipping Act that bars a shipping line from running port operations would be changed.
Therefore, the new laws will give permission to the shipping lines to run the port, which the leaders say would be against the Constitution.
The leaders accused the government of planning to make changes without considering the views of Coast residents.
“If they want to privatise the port, let it be done through the Public-Private Partnership Act which will bring transparency but not secretly planning to benefit certain individuals,” added Mr Faki.
He claimed that already, Maersk through its agent AP Moller is running operations at two berths of the port which they said was against section 16 of the current Merchant Shipping Line.
They accused the Blue Economy Committee of not providing documents to the leaders for perusal on how the privatisation would benefit the residents, if it must be done. The leaders said there was scanty information that has been provided to them regarding the matter.
“It is clear that there are a lot of things that have been done without the leaders being involved. We need that information for verification,” said Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire.
Other MPs present were Ken Chonga (Kilifi Kusini), Paul Katana (Kaloleni), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), William Kamoti (Rabai) and Ruweida Obbo (Lamu). Also present were civil societies groups.
Coast civil society chairperson Patrick Ochien’g blamed the government for not giving the public the opportunity on a “sensitise matter” like privatisation of the port.
“Something crucial like that should bring residents on board. Residents don’t feel that they own the port,” said Mr Ochien’g.