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President Kenyatta offers KES 1B to woo western voters

23 June 2015, 08:09 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – A group of 25 MPs from western region who visited President Uhuru Kenyatta have revealed that the Head of State has committed to offer the troubled Mumias Sugar Company KES 1 billion and is set to tour the region Wednesday next week.

The legislators under the Western Kenya Parliamentary caucus, led by the chair Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale) and the ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i) said the money will go towards the revival of the struggling factory which thousands of sugarcane farmers depend on for their living.  

The legislators who addressed the press at Parliament Buildings after the State House visit warned other legislators in the region against politicizing plans for the revival of the factory since an additional KES 4 billion is needed to recover completely from the financial crisis.

“We had a meeting with the President, the Deputy President and several Cabinet Secretaries. We agreed that the government will provide KES 1 billion to support Mumias recovery plan. We are glad that the President agreed to come and tell the people what he is going to do with Mumias,” said Bunyasi.

Bunyasi pointed out that the President said the KES 4 billion deficit would be raised from the sale of the company’s shares.  

Read Also: Govt says reaches 5 bln shilling deal with lenders for Mumias

However, judging from the MPs' statements, President Kenyatta may be keen to use the tour for revival of Mumias Sugar factory to woo the vote rich western region which voted overwhelmingly for Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) flag bearer, Raila Odinga in the 2013 general elections.

The MPs hinted that they may be keen to avoid a backlash over the collapse of the factory during the 2017 elections.

“The party on which we were elected may not matter in the next elections. In any case, we have only one President and Deputy President,” said Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga).

Last week, there appeared to be major divisions in the caucus when several members held a meeting with Odinga on the Mumias revival issue.

Leaders from Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma counties met the opposition leader in a round table discussion at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi during which Odinga promised to push for the revival of the factory.

Other MPs present at the press conference were Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Malulu Injendi (Malava) and Reginalda Wanyonyi (Bungoma County MP).

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