President gave Mumias with one hand, took with the other
13 August 2015, 09:30
Nairobi – Legislators from sugar-belt regions of western and Nyanza have threatened to destroy all imported cheap sugar in the market if the agreement signed between Kenya and Uganda is not cancelled.
Five MPs led by Busia County MP, Florence Mutua have given President Uhuru Kenyatta a seven-day ultimatum to declare imported sugar a national disaster or else be compelled to take action because the signed deal intends to kill local sugar factories.
“The doors have now been officially opened for Uganda’s cheap sugar exports which will kill our sugar industries already on their knees and have been relying on bail outs as recently seen in the case of Mumias and others,” said Mutua.
She said President Kenyatta’s move to enter into an agreement with his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni for exportation of beef and dairy products in exchange of sugar from Uganda was unpatriotic and betrayal to hardworking sugarcane farmers relying on the crop for their livelihood.
“The counties of Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Busia, Kisumu, Migori, Narok and Kwale all have sugar factories that have no clear future now. Sugarcane farming has helped millions of families in these counties educate their children and put food on the table. All this is under threat now,” warned Mutua.
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She accused Kenyatta of misrepresenting Kenya in the international market by sacrificing sugarcane farmers.
Nyando MP, Fred Outa said Kenyatta should announce a crackdown on imported sugar in the market as he did with killer illicit brews in Central Kenya and other affected regions.
“We are going to meet next week as western region MPs to declare cheap imported sugar a menace in the country and we give the President one week to invite us to State House to declare imported sugar a disaster for us to deal with it or else mobilize our people to destroy it,” warned Outa.
Homa Bay County MP, Gladys Wanga said it was disappointing for Kenyatta, who recently gave a KES 1 billon cheque as bail out for the collapsing Mumias Sugar Company, to go ahead and sign a sugar importation agreement with Uganda.
“His giving of KES 1 billion to revive Mumias was like giving with one hand and taking everything with another hand which is hoodwinking western farmers. It is unfortunate that most local sugar factories including Chemilil, Muhoroni, Miwani, Sony among others are not functional yet the government signs a deal to bring in cheap sugar,” wondered Wanga.
She demanded the government to fully disclose the content of the signed agreement and cancel it in public to ensure the vulnerable local sugar market is well protected instead of liberalizing the market through importation of cheap sugar at expense of suffering sugar industries.
“The witnessed sugar deficit in the country is a man-made problem due to closure of local factories. The government should ensure local sugar production is at optimum level before bringing in the deficit,” said Wanga.
Other MPs present at the press briefing at Parliament Buildings included Jared Opiyo (Awendo), and Fatuma Ibrahim (Wajir County MP).
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