ULTIMATUM

Activists clash with Kisauni MP Mbogo over SGR protests

Trouble started when Mbogo praised Uhuru and CS Macharia for their 'quick response.

In Summary

• Muhuri and FABC want the dialogue over the SGR to be conducted in Mombasa and not Nairobi.

• The activists want Macharia to resign calling him incompetent.

Fast Action Business Community legal officer Philip Jagero, chair Salim Karama and Muhuri chair Khelef Khalifa at PrideInn Hotel in Mombasa on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
Fast Action Business Community legal officer Philip Jagero, chair Salim Karama and Muhuri chair Khelef Khalifa at PrideInn Hotel in Mombasa on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo on Saturday found himself on the wrong side of rights activists' when he suggested they should suspend their weekly protests against the Standard Gauge Railway.

Mbogo and Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki had accompanied Fast Action Business Community and Muslims for Human Rights officials to a presser.

This was after the recent statement issued by Transport CS James Macharia over the directive to have all cargo from the Mombasa port be transported via the SGR.

 
 

Macharia said the directive remains suspended.

However, Fast Action Business Community legal officer Philip Jagero said the suspension is hot air as importers are still forced to transport their cargo to Nairobi via SGR.

Trouble started when Mbogo praised President Uhuru Kenyatta, CS Macharia and the government for their 'quick response to the plight' of the truckers.

He suggested that the weekly protests be stopped.

Fast Action Business Community secretary general Harriet Mugenda, however, interjected and grabbed the microphone from Mbogo.

"We will not stop the protests!" she said.

Mbogo's sentiments echoed those of Mombasa women leaders led by Amina Abdallah and Afia Rama who on Wednesday also called for the suspension of the weekly protests in Mombasa.

 
 

Abdalla, who is a director at the Coast Development Authority, said street protests will not help and only a round table meeting with Uhuru will.

"These street protests should stop immediately because the President is ready to engage us on this matter," said Abdalla.

Rama, who is the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization Mombasa county chair, said the protests will further hurt the already dying Mombasa and the Coast economy due to the unrest.

"Our economy is already in limbo. If chaos increase, it might worsen," she said.

On Saturday, Muhuri chair Khelef blasted Mbogo for praising the same government which he accused of being the cause of the dwindling Mombasa economy.

"We are not here to praise the President or the government," said Khalifa.

He said the government is part and parcel of the problem and cannot pretend to mediate on the crisis.

"They have to rescind the directive. It is illegal. You cannot suspend illegality. You rescind it," said Khalifa.

Muhuri and FABC want the dialogue over the SGR to be conducted in Mombasa and not Nairobi.

They also want the government to make public the agreements related to the SGR and second container terminal (CT2) given the negative effects they are having on the Coast economy.

The activists want Macharia to resign calling him incompetent.

Mbogo had earlier said the issue needs dialogue which takes time.

"Eventually, we will solve this issue because it affects us all. We need to acknowledge that there progress and the President and Macharia are collaborating.

"That is why we need to go slow on the protests," said Mbogo.

However, the activists said the protests will go on as planned.

"We will not stop them. We resume the protests on Monday," said Karama.

Philip Jagero, the FABC legal officer, said the suspension of the directive is a public relations exercise.

"On the ground, nothing is happening. We cannot trust that government anymore. We cannot trust a word coming out of that ministry anymore," he said.

On Monday, Mbogo also clashed with Nyali MP Mohammed Ali and other MPs including Mvita's Abdswamad Nassir.

Mbogo then said Coast leaders had had a meeting with Uhuru and agreed they will meet in Mombasa before Mashujaa Day to discuss the issue.

He accused other MPs of deserting them in the hour of need.


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