DOCK workers have threatened to strike unless plans to privatise the port of Mombasa are explained to them. The Dock Workers Union said a "cartel" of private investors wants to run three berths.
In a statement issued on Sunday, union chairman Jeffer Kitti called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho not to accept the Build Operate and Transfer plans private shipping companies are pushing for.
"There is a return of the cartels of 2008-09 who wanted to take away the running of berths number 11 to 14. This time they are eyeing berths number 20, 21 and 23," read the statement.
Yesterday, DWU general secretary Simon Sang accused the cartels of pushing the Kenya Ports Authority to source funds through the BOT mode.
He said the move will see private owners benefit from the port, denying Kenyans employment. Sang warned the BOT, if implemented, will privatise 80 per cent of the port as private ship operators will handle 70 per cent of containerized cargo.
"We want a proper explanation on the construction of the berths at the new terminal failure to which we shall give a strike notice in 14 days. We cannot sit back and watch Kenyans being duped. If there is an issue which is very emotive in Coast and amongst KPA workers, it is talk of privatisation," he said.
Sang said KPA is financially capable of undertaking any port expansion project without any support from a foreign country.
"We shall be the biggest fools to allow a foreigner from Denmark or any other quarter to take away our hard earned investment," said Sang.
However, KPA managing director Gichiri Ndua said construction of the second container terminal is underway and is being funded by a loan acquired by the government from the government of Japan. "I am not aware of any cartel," Ndua told the Star on the phone.