The battle for control of Dock Workers Union has escalated with the two camps outdoing each other in smear campaigns.
In late June, the union’s general secretary Simon Sang wrote a letter to chairman Mohamed Sheria informing him that he had been removed from the union with immediate effect.
Sang accused Sheria of supporting Kenya Ports Authority ongoing privatisation of second container terminal against workers’ position on the issue.
“After Sheria supported privatisation, members have lost confidence in him and he will be removed completely as a member of the union during the forthcoming AGM,” Sang said in a circular dated June 29 2019.
“He is retiring in 2024 and he appears to have been promised something good if successfully facilitates privatisation. The promise could be a good position in CT2 or monetary gains. Both can be a good motivation to some people,” Sang said.
He said that the allegations were yet to be confirmed “but looking at the level of defence he is putting up to ensure the port is privatised leaves no doubt that may be something good has been promised”.
“Sheria was not representing members in all his sentiments during the Bandari College function because he ceased being a chairman from June 29 2019 via letter Ref: GS/1/50/MISCE/50/2019,” Sang pointed out.
However, Sheria has ignored the letter that purported to suspend him and has managed to withdraw the union from a petition filed by Sang to stop CT2 privatisation.
Sheria who has the support of Maritime Affairs PS Nancy Karigithu told the court that the petition by Sang had excluded union members.
He claimed Sang acted on his own without involving the union’s board, something that went against the DWU constitution. The court agreed with him.
And after the withdrawal of DWU from the petition, Sheria has since embarked on a signature collection exercise with the intention of passing a vote of no confidence on Sang.
All these happened when Sang was out of the country on an official benchmarking trip.
And upon his return last week, Sang reportedly held a crisis meeting with his team and among other things, a resolution was passed to collect signatures towards holding a special AGM to seal Sheria’s fate.
In terms of popularity among employees, Sang is said to be much ahead of Sheria whom workers accuse of being used by outside forces to endanger their employment at the port of Mombasa