Kenyatta tells off Odinga over Uganda sugar deal


President Kenyatta addressing delegates at KICC
President Kenyatta addressing delegates at KICC

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told CORD leader Raila Odinga to stop engaging in destructive politics that undermines the country’s economic progress.

In his addressed at the Eastern Africa Regional Pan-African Congress meeting at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Kenyatta said leaders should work for the common interest of the country and not for their selfish interests.

The President told opposition leader Raila Odinga to think big and stop creating obstacles to efforts aimed at improving the country’s economy.

Kenyatta said the allegations made by Odinga – also in attendance – concerning importation of Ugandan sugar into Kenya were misplaced saying it is more logical for Kenya to get sugar from Uganda than Brazil.

“When you say that I went to talk about bringing cheap sugar into Kenya, which cheap sugar are you talking about? Where do you want us to get our shortfall from?” asked the President.

He said Uganda is the leading export market for Kenyan products and any imports from the neighbouring country would only improve trade between the two nations.

“Let us work to strengthen our own in this region. Uganda imports USD 700 million (Ksh 70 billion) worth of products from Kenya. They export USD150 million (Ksh15 billion),” the President said.

“We must look big and think big for the future of our people.”

Creating more wealth for Africa

President Kenyatta urged the opposition to offer alternative opinions and solutions instead of criticising the Government for the sake of criticism.

“When it comes to the interest of our nation, our region and our continent we must speak in one voice for the betterment of our people and for the future of our children,” he said.

On the Pan-African cause, President Kenyatta said Africa should create more wealth for its people adding that freedom can never be enjoyed amidst poverty.

The President emphasised that unity is crucial to achieve the goal of improving the economic wellbeing of the people of the continent.

“The diverse opinion must be constructive, it must be with the agenda of building, it cannot be with the agenda of destroying,” he said.

President Kenyatta spoke after the chairman the Pan African Congress, Maj Gen (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, read resolutions of the congress which included calls to improve the free flow of people and trade between African countries.

The meeting was also attended by the Vice-President of Sudan, Hasabu Mohamed Abdulrahman, the First Vice President of Burundi, Prosper Bazombanza, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

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