• The human rights defenders and the legislators say the move is morally, ethically and economically wrong and also goes against the constitution because there was no public participation.
• The Civil Society led by Haki Africa are preparing to move to court as they seek other legal means to put pressure on the government to reconsider the directive.
It is economic sabotage, Coast MPs, civil society say over SGR order
BY BRIAN OTIENO @Yobramos4 Monday, 05 August 2019
Coast MPs and civil society groups are opposed to the order that all imported cargo be moved via the SGR and be cleared at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot.
MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Badi Twalib (Jomvu) and Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) vowed to oppose the move through Parliament.
Haki Africa on the other hand plan to move to court apart from seeking other legal means to pressurise the government to rescind the directive.
The MPs and human rights groups said the move is morally, ethically and economically wrong and also goes against the constitution as there was no public participation.
They said the order which takes effect from Thursday will kill the clearing and forwarding businesses, Container Freight Stations, trucking, warehousing and other related businesses employing thousands at the Coast.
“With this move 95 per cent of the clearing and forwarding business at the Coast will be lost. It is like killing a whole region and eventually crime rates will increase,” said Nassir.
He spoke at the Haki Africa offices in Mombasa.
He said he has already written to Speaker of National Assembly seeking adjournment of all House Business to debate the move by Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority.
Parliament is set to go on recess in about a week’s time.
Twalib said his Jomvu constituency will be the most affected because most truckers have their offices and yards there.
“These people have employed thousands of youth. If the government goes ahead with this plan without proper consultation, there will be problems,” said Twalib.
The MP said infrastructural development should benefit the areas where the development takes place but sadly, SGR has done the opposite for Mombasa and the Coast region.
“This is economic sabotage of Mombasa and the Coast region,” the legislator said.
Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said the government is working against the civil society.
He said whereas the government has always sought help from the civil society to help reduce crime, eradicate violent extremism and counter radicalization, the government is creating a conducive environment for all these vices to take place.
“This is extremely surprising,” said Khalid.
“It is unfair for the government to make the Coast continue to suffer because of a loan from China,” he said.
The Coast residents, he said, are not second class citizens and are demanding fair trade practices.