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Lobby group reaches out-of-court settlement with the government on concession of ports

Lobby group reaches out-of-court settlement with the government on concession of ports


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

KNA by Sadik Hassan

The Taireni Association of Mijikenda (TAM) has reached an out-of-court settlement with the government in a petition challenging the concession of Lamu Port Container Terminal Berth 1-3, Mombasa Port Berth 11-14 and Mombasa Container Terminal (CT2).

On September 6,2023 KPA Managing Director Capt William Ruto had invited sealed bids from eligible tenderers for the qualification of bidders for the development and operation of Port Assets through Public Private Partnerships (PPSs).

Lamu Port Container Terminal Berth 1-3, Lamu Special Economic Zone Mombasa Port Berth 11-14 and Mombasa Container Terminal 1 are earmarked to be developed and operated through PPP.

The lobby group had sued the Cabinet Secretary of Roads and Transport, Cabinet Secretary of Treasury and Economic Planning, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Attorney General.

Chief Justice Martha Koome had empaneled a three-judge bench led by Mombasa High Court Presiding Judge Olga Sewe, Justice Gregory Mutai and Justice Florence Macharia to listen to the petition.

In their petition, they decried the lack of public participation, why developed and high-performing port terminals and berths are leased out instead of concessioning the undeveloped and underperforming port assets, and the lack of cost-benefit analysis to ensure value for money.

Peter Kadzeha National Chairman of TAM revealed that on 19th March 2024, KPA advocates requested an out-of-court dialogue to iron out the contentious issues.

“From the beginning, the intention of Taireni was not necessarily to sue the government for the mere opposing it but legitimate public interest concerns informed it,” said Kadzeha at Mama Ngina Water Front, Mombasa.

In the settlement, they had agreed for KPA to facilitate public participation, concessioning not to contravene the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Act, the process to ensure there is value for money and ensure there is inclusivity and locals will be considered in the anticipated private port operations.

“Kenyans and coast people in particular have won in round one but they have to remain vigilant against common evil forces and usual suspects that are always keen to subvert the goodwill of the government, the authority of the courts, the constitution and the will of the people,” said the TAM Chairman in Mombasa.He praised the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism urging other lobby groups to follow suit in resolving public interest cases with the government.

“For those who believe that settling public interest cases through an out-of-court dialogue and settlement with the government is a joke, then this is pure myth and a fallacy merely founded on empty rhetoric, fear, deceit and hypocrisy,” said Kadzeha.

The association took a swipe at individuals positioning themselves to take credit for the petition outcome pointing at coast political leaders who chickened out in the petition but now want to sow where they didn’t plant.

“They now want to ride on Taireni’s coattails to get political mileage. They should first engage us,” said TAM Treasurer Nelly Mkasi.

Courtesy; KNA

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