Petitioners want Mombasa port operations handed over to county government

The port of Mombasa. Two people have been charged over the theft of containers at the port /FILE

Mombasa,KENYA:Three petitioners on Thursday filed a petitioned at the Mombasa constitutional court seeking to have the operations of the port of Mombasa handed over to the Mombasa county government.

The three, Odhiambo Ramogi an economist,Asha Mashaka Omar an entrepreneur and and Gerald Lewa a lawyer through high court advocate Nyambura Kihoro argue that the port of Mombasa is a natural resource belonging to the people of Mombasa and there is no clause in constitution that vests the responsibility of managing the port to the national government.

The three have listed the Attorney General, Transport and infrastructure CS,Kenya ports Authority, and The Kenya Railways corporation as the 1st ,2nd,3rd and 4th respondents respectively.

The three also argue that the agreement between the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya railways authority to have containers transported from Mombasa to the Embakasi ICD using the SGR has adversely moved port business to Nairobi hence forcing clearing and forwarding companies operating in Mombasa to layoff workers.

“ The 3rd and 4th respondent have entered into an agreement dated 30th September 2014 whereas the 3rd respondent is in interalia ,obligated to consign to the fourth respondent as a carrier a set volume of freight or other cargo pursuant to commencement of the operations the standard gauge railway line to 3rd respondents Embakasi ICD” Reads part of the petition.

According to the petition the Kenya railways authority is undermining the development of Mombasa and other satellite towns along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway that have grown as a result of cargo transport business as transporting of cargo using the SGR will render truck drivers, mechanics and other individual jobless.

The petitioners further argue that the move will cause a reduce the revenue of Mombasa by atleast 40 million in 2018.

The petitioners now want the functions of management of the port shared between the county and national governments arguing that the county government should handle operations management while the national government should act as a regulator.

The three also want the Mombasa county assembly compelled to form the Mombasa port Authority which will be tasked with managing the port of Mombasa on behalf of the county government.