, KAKAMEGA, Kenya, Jun 24 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured cane farmers that the government will not sit back and watch the sugar sector collapse.
Speaking when he handed over a Sh1 billion cheque to Mumias Sugar Company towards its revival, President Kenyatta said he will closely monitor performance of the sugar company to guard it against mismanagement.
He said the government recognises the importance of cane farming to the economy of the Western region and is keen on ensuring that farmers benefit from it.
“The money we have released must also go towards ensuring that cane farmers are paid their dues to enable them meet their financial obligations. This factory was built so as to benefit farmers and boost the economy of the region,” President Kenyatta said.
The President – who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto – put on notice the new management of Mumias Sugar Company, saying it will not be spared if it fails to come up with a solid plan that will accelerate the recovery of the company.
“Before we give any more money to the Mumias Sugar Company, the management must prove that they are capable of paying farmers for their cane deliveries and the company is making profit,” he said.
President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto affirmed their determination to develop all parts of the country. They said politics should not be given room to derailed development, adding that Kenyans expect their leaders to help in addressing challenges facing them but not to engage in endless political rivalry.
President Kenyatta said those who mismanaged and looted from Mumias Sugar Company must be pursued and made to pay for their crimes.
Noting that there are independent institutions like the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) which are supposed to deal with those who misappropriate public resources, the President said he should not be blamed for their failure.
He challenged Members of Parliament – who have the power to reprimand the two institutions – to ensure that justice prevails regarding those who misdirected the resources of Mumias Sugar Company.
Deputy President Ruto said the government is keen on ensuring that cane farmers benefited like their maize and wheat counterparts.
He said the Government is providing subsidized fertilizer to cane farmers at the cost of the Sh1,800 instead of the market prices of Sh4,000.
“As we assist maize and wheat farmers, we want to ensure cane farmers also benefit the same way,” the Deputy President said.
The event was attended by Western legislators from across the political divide.
The Western leaders thanked the President and his Deputy for listening to the cry of cane farmers in the region and appreciated the release of Sh1 billion for the revival of Mumias Sugar Company, saying “Mumias is a lifeline of Western region”.
They requested the President also to help in resolving problems at Webuye Pan Paper Mills.
Other speakers included former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Senators Boni Khalwale and Moses Wetangula, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli and CORD Secretary General Ababu Namwamba among others who assured the President and his Deputy of their support in developing the Western region.