MUHURI has written to National Assembly clerk, Michael Sialai, seeking Hansard reports on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) directives and Mombasa port privatization motions.
MUHURI wants to check the participation and comments by seven Mombasa MPs, as the directives and privatization disproportionately affect the county, whose constituencies they got elected to represent.
“We intend to gauge the level of participation – if any – by Mombasa MPs – and take necessary action geared towards proper representation, based on the Hansard report,” MUHURI chairman, Khelef Khalifa, said in the letter, which Sialai received on June 1, 2020.
Mombasa is reeling from an economic slump due to SGR-only haulage of cargo orders, issued unilaterally by the government and in total disregard of public participation laws.
Government directed imports through the port of Mombasa to be cleared in Nairobi, and recently, Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).
The orders have reduced Mombasa to just a transit point and transferred port and logistics services to Nairobi and Naivasha. Thousands of truckers lost jobs as they are no longer needed to transport cargo.
Thousands of locals have been indirectly affected: truck dealerships, fuel service stations, mechanics, spare parts dealers, restaurants, informal sector kiosks, hawkers and many more.
The court stopped State’s Naivasha cargo directive, but the government is notorious for blatantly defying judicial orders.
The government almost privatized the second container terminal (CT2) at Mombasa port until the court stopped it in 2019.
Besides some local MPs selectively taking part in peaceful street protests – sometimes jostling for photo opportunities – and commenting on social and mainstream media, they made no tangible move to overturn the effects of government’s punitive policies.
And when groups like MUHURI, Docks Workers Union (DWU), and Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) — all affiliates of Okoa Mombasa — sued over illegal polices affecting Mombasa economy, none of the politicians joined or even made court appearances in solidarity.
Local legislators appeared cowed over a motion to oust Transport Minister James Macharia, who is at the heart of the orders and privatization. Some withdrew or failed to append their signatures to the impeachment motion. Others openly defended Macharia.
Mombasa voters expect their MPs to jealousy – and as per the law – guard their economic interests and rebuff punitive policies. But have they?