Court dissolves new engineering workers’ union branches at Coast in leadership row

The Industrial Court has dissolved three new branches of the Kenya Engineering Workers Union (Kewu) in Mombasa and Kilifi counties, terming their creation as “irregular and unconstitutional”.

Justice Onesmus Makau further ordered for reinstatement of the dissolved Mombasa branch.

In his judgment, Justice Makau ruled that the union’s national executive council members “unfairly and unlawfully” dissolved the Mombasa branch, breaching the union’s constitution and principle of natural justice.

“The newly created Mazeras branch, Changamwe branch and Mvita branch are suspended until 2016 when the term of office for the elected officials of the Mombasa branch lapses,” he added.

The judge ordered that his decision be served on registrar of trade unions Esther Gicheha whom he directed to immediately dissolve the three branches “with the same speed used to register them”.

The suit was filed by Mombasa branch officials Raphael Odumo (chairman), Joseph Wanyama (secretary) and Daktari Mwayaya (treasurer) to challenge the decision to dissolve their branch.

National secretary-general Charles Natili, four local rival officials Simon Egesa, Joan Muraya, Saul Ngatia and John Mabira and Kewu were listed as the respondents.

The union’s national and Mombasa leaders have been embroiled in wrangles which have resulted in several court cases.

The first court battle was resolved on August 26, 2013 when Justice Makau ordered fresh polls be collected in which the Odumo-led team were elected but Mr Ngatia and Mr Mabira who lost the elections refused to vacate the offices.

The newly elected members filed another suit to force the two and other officials out of office.