Kenya: Dock Workers File Application to Withdraw Suit Contesting Port Privatization

Mombasa — The Dock Worker Union (DWU) board on Thursday applied to pull out of a petition challenging the privatization of the second container terminal (CT2) at the port of Mombasa.

The intent for withdrawal of the case was filed before Mombasa High Court Judge Patrick Otieno.

The board said the union's Secretary General, Simon Sang, filed the petition without consulting other board members.

Lawyer Oduori Siminyu, who appeared on behalf of the DWU board, said Sang acted on his own behalf without the approval of the board.

"According to the constitution of the DWU, there should be an executive meeting of the board before filling any matter to court. There was no such meeting, and therefore this was a unilateral decision of the SG," said Siminyu.

The lawyer said after the DWU board realized that a petition had been filed in court, they appointed him as they to apply to discontinue the matter.

"That was personal decision of the SG. The Union wants to be removed from the proceedings because they never filed the case," said Siminyu.

However, lawyer Arnold Ochieng, holding brief for lawyer Alfred Nyandieka, who was appointed by Sang to represent the union in court, insisted DWU does not recognize Siminyu.

"On the issue of representation in this court, the SG is the only one with an authority to talk on behalf of the union. The SG has not given authority to change the DWU lawyer and has not informed us of such information. Therefore, Nyandieka is still properly on record," said Ochieng.

Nyandieka filed the petition on behalf of DWU, the Taireni Association of Mijikenda and Muslim of Human Rights (MUHURI) as first, second and third petitioners.

It emerged that MUHURI has also filed a similar application before the same court to oppose the privatization of the port.

Ochieng applied to have MUHURI struck off the petition.

"Our application is to have MUHURI struck out of the petition because they have another similar petition coming before this court. The affidavit sworn by Hassan Abdile in this petition should also be expunged," said Ochieng.

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia who have been named as first and second respondents did not oppose the removal of MUHURI from the application.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Kenya Seafarers Welfare Association, who were listed as first, second and third interested parties, also did not oppose the removal of MUHURI.

KPA, MSC and the AG however asked the court, "to rule on whether the application will still be alive or dead after removal of MUHURI and DWU union withdrawal."

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