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Kiliku Elected Dockers' Union Boss

By Edmund Kwena, The Nation (Nairobi), 24 June 2001

Nairobi - Former Changamwe MP Kennedy Kiliku is the new secretary-general of the Dock Workers' Union.

He beat three other candidates, including the incumbent, Mr Juma Khamis, in a hotly-contested election.

The gruelling contest took almost eight hours of polling and another eight hours of counting the ballot papers.

In the last hours of the campaign, the contest had been reduced to a two-horse affair with Mr Kiliku pitted against lawyer Stewart Madzayo.

Mr Kiliku triumphed, garnering 1,660 votes to Mr Madzayo's 1,375. Mr Khamis managed only 180 votes and a former Kenya Ports Authority public relations officer, Mrs Shuwekha Rashid, 98 votes.

Mr Khamis conceded defeat and promised to work with the Kiliku team to improve the welfare of dock workers.

Mr Kiliku's supporters broke into song and dance when Provincial Labour Officer Joseph Yidah announced the result in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Mr Madzayo had forced a recount, alleging irregularities in the counting. But Mr Kiliku held on to the lead even after the recount.

Heavily armed police were deployed to maintain order during the ballot.

Mr Kiliku, the chairman of the Labour Party of Kenya (LPK), called for an end to the intense rivalry that had characterised the three-week campaign.

"The process is over and I want all of us to work together to improve the welfare of port workers," he said.

The former MP said that contrary to popular belief that the authorities would support one of the candidates, the election had been free and fair.

Others elected were Mwanachande Mwinyi Mkuu (chairman), Dickson Kibagendi (vice-chairman), Alex Oduor (assistant secretary), Connie Wanekeya (treasurer) and Teresia Kubasu (assistant treasurer 1,389).

There had been tension earlier amid accusations of rigging, but the balloting went on peacefully.

The Dock Workers Union is one of the strongest in the country, with about 4,000 members and many assets in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Mr Khamis, who has been at the helm for 10 years, fell foul of the members over a new KPA pension scheme in which employees across the board will be paid Sh500,000 on retirement.

Copyright 2001 The Nation. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).