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Uhuru signs sugar import deal with Uganda, angers Raila

11 August 2015, 18:35 William Korir

Nairobi - CORD leader Raila Odinga has lambasted President Uhuru Kenyatta for purporting to kill the local sugar sector by singing a sugar import deal with Uganda.

The rant by Raila came just a day after Uhuru came back from a three day trip to Uganda where he signed a number of bilateral trade deals with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.

He said that the move would kill an already struggling sugar industry riddled in debt.

Raila also questioned the deal that allows Kenya to export beef and dairy products to Uganda, arguing that the capacity to produce the two products for local consumption, let alone export, is lacking.

He also questioned the rationale behind other deals, calling them secretive and dubious.

" We, therefore, call on the President to make public the entire content of the trade agreement signed with Uganda for scrutiny on how the Kenyan workers, farmers and tax payers stand to benefit. The government should equally make public all similar deals signed with other countries,” he said in a Tuesday statement.

" We have reason to suspect that personal business interests are colliding with official duty to override propriety and accountability on matters of bilateral trade," he added.

During his three-day visit to Uganda, President Kenyatta and his host President Museveni signed deals to allow importation of cheap sugar to Kenya while Uganda agreed to import beef and dairy products from Kenya.

They also signed a deal to construct a KES 400 billion pipeline that will transport oil from Albertine to Lokichar in Turkana.

Raila seemed to have a particular issue with the sugar deal.

" This deal on sugar is sour. It comes at a time Kenya’s leading sugar manufacturer Mumias Sugar is struggling to get back on its feet. Sugar cane farmers across the country are equally struggling as a result of lack of payments,” he said.

He stated that the move to inject KES 1 billion to bail out the ailing Mumias Sugar Company, was just a way of blinding Kenyans as it has now turned the other way and allow killer pills in the name of cheaper sugar imports from Uganda to finish the miller.

" It (the deal of cheaper sugar imports) flies in the face of the government’s stated attempt to revive Mumias Sugar through tax-payer funded bailout. It seems reckless of the government to put money into a struggling sugar firm then proceeds sign a deal whose effect will be to flood the market with cheap imported sugar," he said.

The issue is bound to raise further debate from western Kenya leaders who have for long time fought to have the sugar industry revived.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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