The government has put on hold the planned privatisation programme at Mombasa port to seek consensus among stakeholders opposed to the move.

The chairman of the privatisation commission Prof Peter Kimuyu said that although privatisation was crucial in order to make the port competitive in the region it was necessary, also, to develop consensus with stakeholders for the project to succeed.

The ministry of labour has also stepped in with the chief industrial relations officer at the ministry appointed a conciliator on October 19, to arbitrate the trade dispute between the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Dock Workers Union (DWU).

The privatisation commission was due to select a firm that would develop and implement the privatisation proposal. Four firms have so far submitted tenders for the consultancy job: local audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers; CPCS Transcorm Ltd; HPC Hamburg Port Consulting GmbH and; Maritime and Transport Business Solutions.

The DWU are demanding for a new programme to be formulated by the privatisation commission and published subject to discussion and agreement by the DWU and KPA.