, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) says it will not relent in pushing the government to come clean on the controversial Kenya-Uganda sugar deal.
Led by Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua, the members say they want the government to come clean on the recently signed deal that will see sugar imported from Uganda.
They accuse the government of ignoring their calls to have the deal cancelled but maintained that they will not sit and watch as the Kenya sugar industry dies due to what they term as illegal sugar importation.
“We have asked very valid questions about the sugar deal. We have asked President Uhuru (Kenyatta) to 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. The response has been an arrogant and contemptuous silence from the President,” she said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
Without much explanation, they say they will resort to “other constitutional measures” to protect the sugar industry.
“We will begin with basics. As we prepare to move to the ground this Friday, we call on our people to rethink their relationship with the companies in whose name our sugar sector is being killed,” she added.
They argued the government should focus on assisting local sugar farmers and investors in general by having laws that protect them rather than importing sugar.
“No nation ever developed by abandoning its products. The US imposes quotas on Toyota to protect its auto industry. Buy Mumias Sugar, Sony Sugar, Nzoia Sugar, Chemelil and Muhoroni Sugar and build our country,” she said.
The Coalition for Reform and Development (CORD), of which ODM is an affiliate has in the last few days maintained that the government should not import sugar from Uganda as it will not only give room for smuggling of the commodity and mess the local market.
The government plans to import sugar from Uganda apart from COMESA countries, to fill the current deficit which CORD believes is artificial. This is after a deal was signed recently after President Kenyatta made a three day visit to Uganda.
They insist that this was not the time for the State to enter into bilateral agreements that would put Kenya’s sugar industry in an even more precarious position, but invest more money in the sector.