KENYA: Bungoma leaders oppose privatisation of Nzoia Sugar

Published: 03/26/2018, 9:33:48 AM

Bungoma leaders have strongly opposed plans by the state to privatize the ailing Nzoia sugar factory, according to Kenya's The Star newspaper.

The leaders and cane farmers vowed to oppose the plans vehemently.

They spoke on Friday at Nzoia guest house in Kanduyi constituency during a public participation exercise on the factory's privatization process.

They included five Bungoma MPs, deputy governor Professor Charles Ng'ome and MCAs.

The MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), John Waluke (Sirisia), Woman MP Catherine Wambilianga and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi said they will not allow the factory to be privatized.

"We will not allow this to happen, the Jubilee government should halt the privatization of local sugar millers to allow counties own them," they said. 

Bungoma deputy governor Charles Ng'ome said that as a county they will not accept the factory to be sold like the Rai Paper mill in Webuye.

He said that Rai was sold at a throwaway price that was not accepted by county leaders and without proper consultations.

Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi said that privatizing the local sugar companies will deny the local farmers the right to own it.

"I appeal to the sugar board and the chairman of the privatization committee Henry Obwocha to call off the process of privatization until the farmers myriad of complaints are solved," he said. 

‘We are saying that the sugar development funds should also be reinstated to help our ailing sugar factories that are much depended on by millions of wananchi in sugar cane growing regions,' he added.

The MP noted that Nzoia is owned by the state that has 98% shares and should continue to support the mill fully.

He asked the state to write off its debts completely.

Wamunyinyi said that historical injustices that were done to residents when the government began the factory should be addressed.

‘They took land by force and displaced our people by giving some as little as five hundred, two hundred as compensation and we are saying that land in which this factory lies is owned by residents," he said. 

The MP said that its ironically for the state to demand its debts from Nzoia yet it's the majority shareholders of the factory.

Waluke said that Nzoia should stand on its own so that it can support itself and not be asking for money every time

‘We do not want the mill to go the pan paper way where leaders disagreed before and after it was sold to Rai,' he said

The Jubilee party county chairman said that Nzoia is collapsing because of cheap sugar importation in the country that ought to be tamed

The meeting that was being led by the chairman of industries privatization in the country Henry Obwocha nearly turned blood when Ngome and Waluke exchanged bitterly.