- Sang said those being sponsored by cartels include Edward Opiyo, Abubakar Mohamed and Renson Thoya, who is the current Mikindani MCA.
- However, Opiyo denied the allegations saying it is Sang who is in fact a beneficiary of the CFSs, having been sponsored by them all along.
Dock Workers Union general secretary Simon Sang on Friday insisted cartels with interests in the Container Freight Stations are sponsoring candidates for his seat.
He said tycoons with interests in the CFSs are interested in maintaining the status quo.
“We have said CFSs must revert to the port and that is why in my manifesto, and even in this caucus (Pwani Development Agenda), we have said the county governments should build a mega CFS to be run by the port,” Sang said.
Speaking to the Star, Sang said most of those vying against him are puppets of cartels.
On Monday, Sang bowed to pressure from aspirants to announce the date of the election.
He said the National Executive Committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss the election date.
“Tentatively, the election date is April 15 but this may be pushed by a week to allow for the CBA to be signed and registered so as to give us all a fair ground,” said Sang.
He said his move to initiate a forum to advocate for Coast rights, including protecting the Mombasa port from tycoons who want to personalise it, has sent shockwaves.
On Monday, he launched the Pwani Development Agenda at Cool Breeze Hotel at Buxton.
The initiative has a nine-point agenda that, among others, wants the Kilifi, Mombasa and Kwale county governments to build a mega CFS at Mariakani or Miritini and lease the same to the Kenya Ports Authority.
This, according to Sang, will give the county governments an entry point to access port matters just like it is in other countries, where ports are owned by municipalities.
Sang said those being sponsored by cartels include Edward Opiyo, Abubakar Mohamed and Renson Thoya, who is the current Mikindani MCA.
However, Opiyo denied the allegations saying it is Sang who is a beneficiary of the CFSs, having been sponsored by them all along.
“The individuals operating CFSs are the same ones who have been running private businesses throughout the tenure of Sang as the GS. And he has never raised a voice.
“They are depriving the port users of their employment opportunities and careers. They have threatened the employees of KPA with redundancies and there are some of these CFSs who have privatised some functions of the port under his watch,” Opiyo said.
He said he knows the moment he is sponsored by cartels then he will be manipulated.
“My manifesto is clear. All these things that are happening in the port that threaten the existence of opportunities for the employees of the KPA must be stopped,” said the man who has been at the KPA for 40 years.
He accused Sang of failing to protect the interests of workers from arbitrary sackings witnessed every year.
Abubakar said Sang does not want to exit the office because he is personally benefiting from it through the deals he has made with certain people.
“He has already sold the rights of workers to his sponsors, the cartels. What does he want to do now that he has not done for 15 years?” said Abubakar.
The former KPA employee, who was sacked after participating in a strike over NHIF remittance issues, said he is self-sponsored.
“I vie because workers want me to vie. They have accused me off exiting the union with it and now their rights are not protected,” he noted.
“Simon Sang is going home. He has nothing in the union. He has used and finished it. He is compromised,” said Abubakar.
Thoya dismissed Sang’s statements as cheap propaganda from someone who wants to be a life general secretary.
The MCA said Sang should justify his statement with evidence and facts and not politic with people’s names.
“If he cannot justify his statement then it is propaganda. He is spoiling people’s names to try and gain some sympathy votes. Let him tell what he has to offer and not speak about other people,” said Thoya on phone.
The former chief shop steward at the union said time has come for the DWU constitution to be changed to align it with that of the country.
“There needs to be a maximum two terms of five years. Why does Sang want to be in the position forever? The constitution should allow for growth,” said Thoya.
Sang has been at the helm for 15 years after taking over from former Changamwe MP the late Kennedy Kiliku in 2006. He is now going for a fourth term.
Sang said civil servants are working with the cartels to try and destabilise the union so as to weaken it.
He and the union chairman Mohamed Sheria do not see eye-to-eye. They lead different factions of the union, pulling in different directions.
Union members say the management has taken advantage of this to introduce regulations that hurt workers.
On Saturday, Harrison Lusigi, an aspirant for Sang’s seat, said the division of the union has seen members suffer.
Lusigi said Sang lost his way towards the tail end of his term with wrangles attending his leadership.
“Right now the union is very much divided. A union needs to bring the members together not cast them apart. I seek to bring all the members together so we can address our issues as a united front,” said Lusigi.
He said his leadership will rope in women, who are good leaders but have always been denied the chance.
“Right now the position of women is not known in the union. This will change should I come in. Women are equally good leaders and they must be given a chance,” said Lusigi.
“Time for dictatorship that does not allow women to lead has come to an end,” he said.
Edited by Henry Makori