What you need to know:
- A former manager of the Kenya Ports Authority, Mr Abdalla Randani, who analysts had predicted would give Mr Sang a stiff competition, came a distant third with 280 votes, while a trustee of the port’s pension scheme, Mr Katana Wara got 78 votes.
- Mr Sang said strikes at the port had become too common in the last six years, and that it was time to change tack. But he asked management to avoid provoking workers to strike.
Dock Workers Union Secretary General Simon Sang yesterday won an emphatic re-election and immediately promised to fight for increased efficiency at Mombasa Port, East Africa’s busiest.
Mr Sang polled 2,701 votes against his closest rival, Mr Bakari Bwetta, who managed only 365.
A former manager of the Kenya Ports Authority, Mr Abdalla Randani, who analysts had predicted would give Mr Sang a stiff competition, came a distant third with 280 votes, while a trustee of the port’s pension scheme, Mr Katana Wara got 78 votes.
“I want to change the way business is done in my five-year term by embracing dialogue instead of the old ways of resorting to strikes,” he said in his acceptance speech in KPA’s boardroom after he was declared the winner.
He would devote time and resources to harmonising relations between the government, employer and dock workers to improve the image of the giant union which has for years come to be associated with “militant aggression”.
“Our relations will be marked by a more vibrant, effective and accommodative approach to all the three partners; government, the employer and the union and by extension, the port users and Kenyans, at large,” he said.
“My goal is to ensure that dialogue is made a key strategy for sorting out labour matters and we shall try as much as possible not to invoke the common weapon – the strike – to drop the militant tag so that we are not misunderstood even more.”
Mr Sang said strikes at the port had become too common in the last six years, and that it was time to change tack. But he asked management to avoid provoking workers to strike.
The official called for an end to the long-standing controversy on the privatisation of sections of the port and consultations with citizens “who are equal stakeholders in this national asset.
He praised the government for coming up with the Sh380 billion Standard Gauge Railway and the four-lane expansion of the Mombasa-Mariakani section of the Nairobi highway.
“These projects will expand the port capacity tremendously and allow it accommodate more cargo and add efficiency,” he said.
The KPA, he added, should buildthree huge dry ports at Mariakani and Malaba besides expanding the Nairobi Inland Container Deport (CID) to allow storage of more cleared cargo.
“This will remove the 49 per cent Container Freight Stations (CFSs) fraud involving brokers denying the government billions in revenue every year,” he said.
An independent elections board headed by Mr Martin Oindo conducted the poll. Mr Anthony Olode was elected the deputy secretary general, Mr Joseph Makero, the treasurer, to be assisted by Mr Nana Mote. Mr Mohamed Sheria was elected chairman and his assistant is Mr Gunda Kaneno. Ms Zuhura Iddi is the gender chairperson, Ms Brendah Wanjala, Ms Matreda Mwakireti and Mr Katana Kenga national trustees.
The election was marred by delays in delivery of ballot papers, and slow counting, which started at 6pm on Tuesday, and ended yesterday at 10.15am.