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Why CORD opposes Uhuru's Uganda sugar deal

13 August 2015, 18:36 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - The sugar deal brokered between Kenya and Uganda must not and cannot be allowed to stand, the CORD coalition has insisted.

The aftermath of the controversial deal being signed by the government has seen Western Kenya leaders fume over the issue, some refuse to head to State House for a meeting and CORD leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta involved in a war of words over the matter.

So what next?

CORD want the deal cancelled completely, while the government states it will not baulk under the demands. So what is CORD's argument? Here is the full statement from the party on the matter.

Why CORD detests Uganda sugar importation deal

The President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta has questioned our commitment to our region and our country because we have questioned the deal he signed with his Uganda counterpart President Yoweri Museveni.

We wish to make it clear that we love the East Africa Community and we want it to succeed. But we love honesty more.

We treasure transparency and accountability in the conduct of national affairs.

We love and respect our constitution which, at Article 35 (3) says; “The State shall publish and publicize any important information affecting the nation.”

And when the choice is between our people and our region, the choice should be easy and clear. It is our people first.

We appeal to the President and his administration to join us in this patriotic duty.

Our position remains that the deal allowing Uganda to sell its sugar in Kenya is at odds with the desires and aspirations of our people.

It is unpatriotic and a betrayal of a hardworking people who have long relied on sugarcane to develop their nation and their counties.

And this matter must not be trivialized and ethicized as the Jubilee regime is trying to.

It is not a Luhya or western Kenya issue. It affects livelihoods in the sugar cane growing counties of Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Busia, Kisumu, Migori, Narok and Kwale. This is as national as any issue can be.

We are talking about the impact of this deal on Mumias Sugar, Nzoia Sugar, West Kenya Sugar and Butali Sugar in Western. We are talking about Ramisi Sugar in Kwale, Sony Sugar in Migori, Transmara Sugar in Narok, Muhoroni sugar, Chemelil Sugar and Kibos Sugar in Kisumu and Sukari industries in Homa Bay County.

In all these counties, mature cane is either rotting in farms or farmers have not been paid for their cane because the factories are making losses. The factories are making losses because cheap imported sugar have filled warehouses and flooded the market.
And yet in all these areas, sugarcane farming, struggling as it is, has helped millions of families educate their children and put food on the table. An already bad situation is set to get worse with the Uganda deal.

Instead of protecting families and jobs in these counties, this agreement will, on the contrary, lead to the total destruction of the Kenya sugar industry.

With his signature, the President has turned the sugar industry into a lottery for Kenya farmers. It opens doors for crooked business and government officials who have the money and the connections to import sugar from anywhere, give it a Uganda label, and dump it here.
We wish to make it clear that Uganda has no surplus sugar which it can sell to Kenya. The figures being floated are just part of the conspiracy and dishonesty that we must resist.

This deal is one sided. It is neither fair nor just. The president must explain to Kenyans what, in his view, the impact of the unchecked and unlimited sugar imports from Uganda will be on the already ailing Kenyan sugar industry.

How does this deal help Kenya sugar belt? What safeguards are in place to stop sugar from the rest of world coming into Kenya via Uganda (including by Kenyan sugar barons who can use Uganda as a base)? We are aware that the EAC partner states who are also members of COMESA received a final extension of the sugar industry protection. This period was supposed to allow each country to revamp its industry and make the necessary changes and investments in their sugar industries ready to compete in COMESA when the final extension runs out. How does this deal help our industries prepare for the end of COMESA protection period?

Why did the National Government ignore the governments of sugarcane growing counties knowing well that under the 2010 constitution Agriculture is a devolved function?

We believe the sugarcane farmers have been sacrificed by a government pandering to narrow corporate and personal interests.
Our vital national interests are threatened by this deal. We call on President Kenyatta to join us defending the nation and protecting our farmers.

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- MyNews24

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