30 April 2014

Kenya: Politicians Bail Out 10 Mombasa Workers

Four politicians who are unhappy with Governor Hassan Joho's leadership on Monday slammed the county government for using "intimidatory tactics" to rule.

Nominated Senator Emma Mbura, Nyali MP Hezron Awiti, Kongowea ward representative Jabess Oduor and Mombasa Movement for Change chairman Suleiman Shahbal said the sentencing of 10 workers, who participated in last year's county government workers strike was unfair.

The 10, including their chair Margaret Amabasa and an elderly man Ali Mohamed Yessa, were found guilty of littering the town and were jailed for one year or a Sh50,000 fine each by the municipal court.

They were subsequently sent to Shimo la Tewa prison on Friday before the four secured their release on Monday evening by paying the Sh500,000 fines in total.

Shahbal however said the judgement was unjust and extreme, and that they paid the fine under protest. He said they will appeal the sentencing.

"People should not think you can abuse power to jail people like this. People have rights. This is a new Kenya, not the Kenya of 20 years ago. These intimidation tactics will not work," said Shahbal.

Awiti said such cases should not warrant the such hefty fine and jail terms. He said intimidatory tactics used by the county government will kill the morale of county government workers.

"These are leaders of the county council workers. They were protesting to demand their rights because they had not been paid for months. It is everybody's right to demonstrate for their rights and their benefits," said Shahbal.

Soon after their release, Ambasa broke into song and dance as she led the others into chanting victory songs within the prison facility. They later held prayers after which Ambasa vowed not to relent in her fight for her own and other people's rights.

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