Traders, MPs storm Governor Joho’s office
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho on Tuesday found himself in trouble when traders, civil society activists and section of Members of Parliament stormed his office demanding an explanation on how he was benefiting from the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) deal at their expense.
Under the banner of First Action Business Community, they accused the governor of siding with the government as it enforce the SGR cargo evacuation policy to Nairobi.
"We want to know why the governor has abandoned us. Is he a beneficially of the SGR monopoly?" posed Nyali MP Mohammed Ali.
The protestors were, however, blocked by security personnel manning Joho's office from getting into the building.
While addressing the crowd right at the office entrance, they accused Governor Joho of ignoring the cry of Mombasa residents saying he has given the matter a wide berth.
“We were cheated about the suspension of the SGR order. The SGR monopoly is still on and off and road transporters do not get cargo. We want cargo owners to be allowed to choose who should transport their consignments,” said Ali.
Ali complained that Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Matiang’i and his Transport counterpart James Macharia cheated the entire Coast leadership when they convened a meeting in Nairobi and announced SGR would share the available cargo at the port with other players.
“That announcement was just meant to ensure Mashujaa Day was celebrated peacefully in Mombasa but there was no honest on the part of Government. We are going to hold the demonstrations until Government allows other players at the port to get cargo,” Ali said.
“The people of Mombasa want answers why the governor is so quiet while the economy of the people he represents is being killed. Why Joho can’t talk about the mandatory cargo transportation is an indication of him being part of the deal,” added Ali.
Activist Boniface Mwangi said the mandatory cargo haulage by train is an oppression policy saying local politicians have let down the people for failing to defend them.
Mombasa senator Mohamed Faki, Mvita MP Abdulwamand Nassir and Ali have been taking part in the demonstrations.
“Mombasa economy is on death bed and some politicians purport to be representatives of the people yet they don’t show solidarity when people are being affected. People should stand up and defend themselves which so unfortunate while we have representatives,” said Mwangi.
Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid claimed Mombasa was being forced to carry the burden of Chinese loans used to build SGR line through the loss of business after cargo was directed to SGR.
“We reject the plan to force Mombasa to carry the burden of Chinese loans. We are telling the government we are not ready to carry the economic burden on behalf of the country. We are tired of being discriminated economically,” Khalid said.