Controversy surrounds Dock Workers Union election date

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By Tobby Otum

There is no hidden agenda in announcing the date of the Dockworkers Union (DWU) elections scheduled before this financial year.

Embattled DWU General Secretary Simon Sang has refuted claims from his rivals and critics that he has a hidden agenda arguing that there is nothing to hide.

He said the DWU will hold its national executive committee meeting before coming up with a tentative date for the election.

“The delay in announcing the union elections was because there was a collective bargaining agreement [CBA] to be completed,” he pointed out.

Sang said initially they had set March 15 as the union’s tentative election date but it had to be delayed because of the pending CBA.

He was answering questions from journalists on the sidelines of the launch of Pwani development forum at Cool Breeze hotel in Mvita constituency, Mombasa county.

The embattled DWU General Secretary said it was wrong for him to declare the date of the elections while there are pending issues related to the welfare of members.

Sang said he intends to travel to Nairobi for three days to formalize the registration of the CBA.

He refuted claims the union polls will be affected by a third wave of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which is a global challenge.

“We will put measures in place to conduct the union polls in line with the government directive on the coronavirus protocols,” he pointed out.

The DWU boss cautioned the union campaigns will be carried out according to health guideline and that social distance will be maintained.

Sang said he is confident to retain his seat despite cartels opposed to the privatization of the port having sponsored aspirants to oust him.

He told journalists the cartels which have sponsored aspirants are against his manifesto which is opposed to private container freight stations [CFS].

“I will ensure the business done through private CFSs reverts back to the port of Mombasa when I retain my seat,” he insisted.

The DWU boss said he will ensure the government constructs a state-of-the-art mega CFS to do away with private CFSs at the port.

Sang added those opposed to his re-election are out to protect the interests of the cartels and not of the union members.

He said he is aware of the cartels which had been denied access to the port during his tenure and how they have sponsored his rivals to oust him.

“The port has cartels which are interested in privatization and they are same ones which are interested in maintaining the status quo of CFSs,” he pointed out.

The DWU spokesperson said it’s wrong for government revenue collection to go through private hands instead of a government CFS.

Sang singled out a former Kenya Ports Authority [KPA] employee who is also former DWU assistant General Secretary Abubakari Mohamed Abdullah and Mombasa’s Member of County Assembly for Mikindani ward Juma Renson Thoya as being allegedly sponsored by cartels which want him ousted during the union polls.

He also pointed a finger at outgoing Kenya Ports Authority [KPA] Container Terminal Operations Officer Edward Opiyo for allegedly being the project of the CFS guys who call the shots at the port.

“The union members are aware of them and their agenda ahead of the polls and their mission is in the public domain,” he pointed out.

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