Uhuru travels to Ethiopia as sugar debate rages on

Uhuru travels to Ethiopia
Uhuru travels to Ethiopia

President Uhuru Kenyatta Sunday morning travelled to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to attend an IGAD meeting on South Sudan peace process.

The plane carrying President Kenyatta and his entourage departed from the Moi International Airport, Mombasa shortly before 10am.

The president leaves a country tangled in dissension over the controversial sugar deal between Kenya and Uganda signed during his visit to Uganda a week ago.

The deal, whose content is not public, has faced serious criticism especially from members of the opposition who see it as a frustration of the country’s crumbling sugar industry.

Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) led by coalition leader Raila Odinga termed the deal as fraudulent and called on the government to make its content known for public scrutiny.

In his statement on Thursday, Odinga said the sugar deal is at odds with the desires of the people, noting that the government should put the interests of Kenyans first.

“It is unpatriotic and a betrayal of a hardworking people who have long relied on sugarcane to develop their nation and their counties,” read the statement in part.

“Ugandan businessmen, together with business cartels in Kenya, among them government officials, will source sugar from other parts of the world, route it to Uganda and return it to Kenya as Uganda sugar,” he argued.

Speaking at the Eastern Africa Regional Pan-African Congress in Nairobi, President Kenyatta defended the deal saying it was more logical for Kenya to import sugar from Uganda than Brazil.

“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 had said.

Deputy President William Ruto is among Jubilee coalition members who have come out to defend the sugar pact saying CORD’s aim is to fight the deal and protect sugar cartels.

The DP claimed that there were cartels in the sugar industry known for repackaging imported sugar and selling it to Kenyans, adding that the government will cooperate with Uganda to ensure sugar from other countries does not find its way into the country.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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