Kenya: Court Halts Plan to Privatise Mombasa Port Terminal

The High Court has suspended the implementation of a memorandum of understanding between the government and a shipping company over the operations and management of a container terminal at the port of Mombasa.

Justice Patrick Otieno, sitting in Mombasa, issued the interim orders after suspending the implementation of Section 16 (1) of the 2019 Statute Law Act.

The judge also directed the case file to be taken to Chief Justice David Maraga so he can set up a panel of an uneven number of judges to hear the petition.

PETITION

The Dock Workers Union and Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri), which had filed the petition alongside the Taireni Association of Mijikenda, were withdrawn from the proceedings following their respective applications.

But the court noted that the Taireni Association of Mijikenda, the second petitioner, still remains in the case. Muhuri has since filed a similar petition separately.

The petitioner is seeking a declaration that the MoU between the government and Mediterranean Shipping Company is illegal and unconstitutional.

SOVEREIGNITY

They argue that the purported privatisation of the operation and management of part of the Mombasa port (Container Terminal Two) to a private entity is contrary to the principles of sovereignty as the port is a national asset.

They argue that the MoU for the transfer of part of the terminal to a private entity is not viable and the implementation will be detrimental to Kenyans.

"The MoU is shrouded in mystery and the government has failed to carry out consultative meetings with members of the public," part of the petition reads.

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