Gov’t, opposition pushing selfish agenda using sugar – Mudavadi
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has accused the Jubilee administration and the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) of pushing selfish agenda using the sugar sector.
Mudavadi, who was appearing on Citizen TV’s Cheche programme, said that the two opposing factions (Jubilee and CORD) are focused on the 2017 polls thereby riding on the sweat of cane farmers.
Mudavadi – who unsuccessfully contested for the presidency in 2013 – says that the sugar issue is emotive and affects thousands of farmers from western Kenya and must be addressed with truth.
He said that the government owes a duty to disclose the details of the alleged sugar pact signed with the Ugandan government.
He pointed out that the debate on the sugar issue has been orchestrated by the government with an aim of completely ‘killing’ the sugar sector.
“Both the government and the opposition are trading ‘statements of guilt’ against each other at the expense of the cane farmer and most needed reforms in the sugar industry,” he said.
Mudavadi, who is also a former Deputy Prime Minister, said that he did not understand why the government could not make public details of the agreement.
“What is in it (agreements) that cannot be made public? Is there an agreement or not? The government should be open instead of pushing the country into hypothetical debate,” he added.
“And what gain will the farmer get from attending a political rally?”
Privatization of the sugar sector
The Amani coalition leader said that over six million people depended on the sugar sector for their livelihoods saying the debate should not be on the agreement but on what aims the sector.
“We know what ails the industry. The rain started beating us when the Kenya sugar levy was misused instead of funding cane development and modernization of factories,” he said adding that “we let corruption and illegal imports in and forgot the farmer. Now is time to reverse that and implement policies that protect the farmer and rules of fair trade.”
He now calls on the government to fast track the privatization of the sugar industry saying that “illegal imports were a result of the government back peddling on privatization which would have injected capital into factories”.
He attributed the Mumias company woes to “a conspiracy” to kill organizations which protected farmers’ welfare in dealing with factories.
He said the issue is not whether to import or not but whether there are safe guards on the Rules of Origin to ensure no illegal sugar is dumped in Kenya.
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