NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga has defended himself against allegations by Deputy President William Ruto that he owes Mumias Sugar Company money, saying the claims are false.
Odinga took a swipe at Ruto, instead accusing him of attempting to divert the attention of Kenyans from more pertinent issues.
The CORD leader said Ruto should first disclose his role in the issuance of licenses to sugar importation companies during his tenure as Agriculture Minister during the Grand Coalition Government.
“The Jubilee Government has this habit of… if one unearths corruption they say you are also corrupt. Two wrongs don’t not make a right; the high priest of corruption in Kenya should not divert our attention from other irrelevant issues – right now we are talking about the Uganda sugar deal,” Odinga said.
He insisted the debt linked to him was guaranteed by a bank which paid it, adding that: “If there was a commercial debt, it is a commercial debt and there is nothing wrong with that. I want say here without fear of contradiction that there is no debt owed.”
Meanwhile the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) starting Wednesday will hold rallies in different areas of the sugar belt region to enlighten farmers on the deal signed between Kenya and Uganda on importation of cheaper sugar.
Speaking after the close of a two-day retreat for the ODM Parliamentary Group, the Governors’ Summit and the National Executive Council, ODM Vice Chairman Paul Otuoma said they were concerned about the welfare of the farmers who will lose out in the deal.
“The party leader and his CORD co-principals will embark on an extensive tour of the sugar-belt region with the view of engaging the farmers and tell them the truth about the Uhuru/Museveni deal,” said Otuoma.
He called on the government to employ the same energy it has used to destroy illicit brew in Central Kenya in fighting sugar cartels that he said had been stocking cheap illegal sugar imports in warehouses in the country.
“Beginning Wednesday we will move to the ground in Western, Nyanza and Coast and all the other sugarcane growing zones to stand in solidarity with the farmers,” added Otuoma.
They also challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto to declare their interest in the sugar importation agreement insisting that certain individuals within the Jubilee administration were set to benefit from the deal, leaving over six million Kenyans who derive a living from the sugarcane sector poor.