Mudavadi accuses CORD, Jubilee of conspiring to ‘kill’ Sugar Report

Mudavadi accuses CORD, Jubilee of conspiring to ‘kill’ Sugar Report

The Amani National Congress (ANC) has linked Jubilee and the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) to a conspiracy to kill a report that unearths the under dealings in Kenya’s sugar industry.

The two coalitions are accused of sacrificing the sanctity of the findings on political alter with keen intentions of harvesting votes from Western region.

According to ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, both the government and the opposition have conspired with the National Assembly to block the debate on the report, dubbed The Crisis Facing the Sugar Industry in Kenya, with the intention of discarding it in totality.

“The latest scramble for Western Kenya by both Jubilee and CORD is a hidden diabolical conspiracy by the two to divert area voters from punishing them in the next general elections as a protest against the economic sabotage the two have inflicted on Western region through complicity in killing the Sugar Industry,” read the statement in part.

“Twice the report was listed on the order paper of the National Assembly for debate but in every one of those cases it was removed at the last minute amidst reports of secrecy, behind the scenes horse trading between parliamentary leaders of both sides.”

The report, compiled by National Assembly’s departmental committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Co-operatives in 2014, has not been debated in the House neither has its findings been made public.

“The report contains far reaching recommendations to punish major perpetrators of graft and abuse of office cited in multiple corrupt dealings leading to the latest meltdown in the sugar industry and who are known top financiers or senior members in the two political formations,” claimed ANC.

“Big names of sugar barons and major companies dealing in importation and exportation of Sugar have been clearly listed as offenders who through corruption, theft, smuggling, tax evasion, adulteration, dumping and other cases of criminality virtually bankrupt Mumias Sugar Company and crippled the others.”

Despite enjoying the ‘tyranny of numbers’ in the National Assembly, Jubilee has failed to push for the debating and adoption of the report knowing the political implications that it could cause them ahead of the 2017 elections, according to ANC.

The party made reference to the injection of Ksh 1 billion to the Mumias Sugar Company and the plan to increase the allocations to revive the sugar company saying it was all political gimmick aimed at quelling voices of discontent and halt the anti-government wave in the region.

“We also take offense at the government’s recent half-hearted manoeuvre to seek extension of the COMESA safeguards protecting the sugar industry from cheaper imports. This trick is meant to buy time to plot how the factories will be allocated to cartels that ran them down in the so-called privatization.”

“Our experience with COMESA extensions allegedly to improve competitiveness of the industry shows that such safeguards have not spurred government into implementing the necessary changes to revitalize the industry but to enable factories to be vandalized even further.”

ANC called on MPs, especially from the Western region, to pressure their counterparts in the National Assembly to push for the investigation and prosecution of those involved in bankrupting Mumias Sugar Company and other sugar factories.

Besides pointing out the flaws in the sugar industry, the report also highlights key radical measure that the government should implement in order to effect a turn-around in the sector, which if implemented would change lives of over 6 million Kenyans depending on the sugar industry.

According to ANC, the report recommends the adoption of Sugar Industry Strategic Agenda for Increased Competitiveness; eliminate Sugar smuggling and dumping incentives; embark on major infrastructure upgrade in the sugar belts and put in place tax breaks to attract new investors in the industry.

The report also seeks to push legislation to amend and fine tune sugar import and export laws to deter offenders, regulate repackaging of sugar by supermarkets to enforce KEBS and health standards and to quickly develop a central Sugar marketing body.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi has, however, absolved ODM from the allegations saying the coalition is not privy to such conspiracies.

Wandayi claimed that as a member of the majority in the House Business Committee, Mudavadi, through its defunct party UDF, should push for his agenda in the House instead of shifting blames on other parties.

“CORD is a minority in the House Business Committee where Mudavadi’s former party UDF, TNA and URP form the majority,” stated the Ugunja legislator.

“Mudavadi should, therefore, use his MPs in the House and in the committee to push for his agenda instead of blaming CORD for the failure to debate the report.”

Some of the MPs from UDF in the House include Alfred Sambu (Webuye East), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Ayub Savula (Lugari) and Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale).