NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – Opposition leader Raila Odinga now wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to disclose the details of a deal struck with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni allowing cheaper Ugandan sugar into the Kenyan market and Kenyan dairy and meat products to Uganda.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, Odinga said the deal was suspect and would lead to the collapse of the already struggling sugar industry as the cheap imports would flood the market.
“We 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.
“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.”
He urged Kenyatta to explain how the deal benefited Kenyans and how the local sugar sector would be protected so that local traders do not take advantage to sneak in their own imports.
“How will we police the Ugandan sugar sector to ensure what is exported to Kenya originates from that country. We must not be duped into supporting deals that only bequeath a mortgaged future to our country and our children,” he added.
Odinga termed the deal reckless further casting doubt on the Kenya Co-operative Creameries and the Kenya Meat Commission’s capacity to export dairy and beef to Uganda owing to the demand in the country.
“Equally tasteless is the deal on beef and dairy products. It is therefore unclear who this deal is meant to benefit in Kenya,” he said.
He went on to question the government’s bailout plan for the sugar company asking why taxpayers money would be injected into a struggling sugar firm and the same government enters into a deal which would eventually render the company useless.
He decried the fact that hardworking sugar cane farmers across the country were equally struggling as a result of lack of payments further calling for urgent government action.
Odinga said if this was not addressed, Kenya was staring at a scandal as there were many other questionable deals entered by the government where ‘personal interests’ overrode national ones.
He cited the awarding of tenders for the management of the new Kenya Ports Authority terminal and also the construction of the Uganda-Kenya crude oil pipeline claiming this were single sourced and meant to benefit certain individuals.
“The tribulations of the national carrier Kenya Airways equally results from such shadowy negotiations over national assets for private business gains,” Odinga added.
He questioned several other deals signed by the Jubilee administration saying they were suspicious that personal business interests were colliding with official duty to override propriety and accountability on matters of bilateral trade.
The agreements were signed during President Kenyatta’s three-day visit to Kampala where he also addressed the Ugandan Parliament.