Police on Monday used tear gas to disperse hundreds of dock workers who were heading to a Mombasa hotel to storm a port privatisation workshop convened by the Kenya Ports Authority.
The KPA stakeholders’ meeting at Mombasa Beach Hotel was meant to finalise Mombasa Port privatisation exercise.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta and Transport Minister Amos Kimunya attended the meeting.
Led by Mombasa Deputy Police boss Joseph Muthee, police engaged the group at Moi Avenue. Police had to lob tear gas canisters to scatter the demonstrators within Mombasa District Business for what they referred to as illegal assembly. One person was arrested.
Mr Muthee said the protest was illegal since the police were not informed earlier, despite the DWU saying they had met with the security officers and wrote a formal letter addressed to Makupa Police Station commander dated February 26 giving notification of the planned peaceful demonstration.
The demonstrators led by DWU secretary general Simon Sang and nominated MP Sheikh Mohammed Dor, who boycotted the stakeholders’ meeting, promised to continue with the fight to oppose the privatisation of the port.
Speaking before the protest, Sheikh Dor differed with government officials who had earlier said the Cabinet was not aware of the privatisation of the port.
“I have documents here indicating the Cabinet approved the privatisation of the port in 2008 before it was gazetted in August 14, 2009 and I want to ask those ministers who are claiming the Cabinet is not aware to be sincere over the issue,” said Sheikh Dor.
Sheikh Dor said due procedure of the privatisation of the Mombasa port was not followed.