NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Western Kenya MPs on Thursday skipped a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta meant to discuss the controversial sugar importation deal with Uganda.
The Western Kenya Parliamentary Caucus chairman Bunyasi Sakwa said they “politely” declined to meet President Kenyatta as details of the trade agreement “were scanty.”
“We cannot discuss the contents of an agreement we have not seen. We need copies of the agreement so that we can know what the deal is all about before agreeing to the State House meeting,” the Nambale MP told a press conference held at Parliament Buildings on Thursday.
The Luhya leaders had been invited to a breakfast meeting with President Kenyatta.
Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba called for the publication of the sugar deal so that it can be debated and ratified by Parliament as is required by the Constitution.
“Any agreement with anybody can only be for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of our people. Following our deliberations the caucus has resolved to politely decline the invitation,” he said.
He added that the matter should be broad enough to include leaders from all regions.
“It is the position of the caucus that the sugar question goes beyond Western Kenya stretching to the Nyanza and Coast,” Namwamba said.
“We are aware that Nzoia, West Kenya, Butali, Sony and other companies have lots of sugar in their stores. We believe this matter is more urgent than talking about imports.”
The 11 MPs said they will continue standing in solidarity with long-suffering farmers who are “sinking further and further into the economic abyss” making it difficult for more cane to be collected for crushing, he said.
The Opposition has criticised Kenyatta over the deal saying it will result in losses for farmers.
On Tuesday, President Kenyatta responded to backlash from CORD leader Raila Odinga saying the new deal with Uganda is key to addressing Kenya’s shortfall, and that it is more reasonable than importing the commodity from overseas.