Court gives nod to privatization of sugar companies in Western Kenya

Gov't gives Mumias Ksh 1B
Gov't gives Mumias Ksh 1B

Plans to privatize five sugar companies in Western Kenya can now go ahead.

This follows a decision by high court judge Edward Muriithi who ruled that the application to stop the privatization is premature.

“Accordingly as the mechanisms for alternative dispute resolutions between the national and county governments as ordained by the constitution have not been exhausted, I find that the proceedings before the court are premature,” read the ruling in part.

The ruling which was read on behalf of justice Muriithi by justice Chacha Mwita also stated that the court cannot be asked to resolve the dispute adding that it would be usurping the prior jurisdiction of the organs of the Intergovernmental relations Act, through which the governments shall make every reasonable effort to settle the dispute.

Accordingly, for the said reasons, the court struck out the petitions and the Judicial Review proceedings consolidated before it.

“In view of the public nature proceedings, the court does not make any orders as to costs,”read the judgement

The judge said that the alternative dispute resolution efforts ended at a second meeting at which it was greed that the matter should be referred to the appropriate intergovernmental Relations Committee.

Following the 2nd meeting which took place on 5th February 2016 the petitioners moved to court in May 2016 before any further attempts at amicable settlement in accordance with Article 189 of the Constitution and the Intergovernmental Relations Act.

“The eventuality contemplated by section 35 of the Intergovernmental Relations Act 2012 has not crystalized because all efforts of resolving the dispute have not been exhausted and failed, “read Justice Chacha Mwita

The court also ruled that there’s is no suggestion that the structures of the alternative dispute resolutions under the Intergovernmental Relations Act 2012 cannot remedy the situation manifested in the dispute about whose function between the national and County government is the business of milling of sugar.

However the court noted that there appears to be substantial questions presented before the high court for interpretations which are subject of the privatization.

Petitioners were advised to exhaust all alternative dispute resolutions methods before resorting to judicial proceedings.

In the case Kisumu govornor Anyang Nyongo and former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo had moved to court claiming the sale process was being conducted illegally, following placement of an advertisement in the newspapers on March 11th last year.

Through their lawyer Victor Obondi, the two ODM legislators claims that the privatization commission ignored mandatory and material procedure and conditions prescribed for the privatization process of the subject companies, while issues raised by cane farmers had not been addressed.

In May 2015, Kenya approved the sale of the government’s stake in five sugar companies; Nzoia, South Nyanza, Chemelil, Muhoroni and Miwani

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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