Kenyan reactions to the proposed Kenyan-Ugandan Sugar-Agreement: Is it a sweet cup of tea or is it something else?
Kenyan opposition has reacted to the talks about importing sugar from Uganda to Kenya and recharging the trades over the borders. This is after the talks that been between Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in Uganda recently. Here will go through the statements from CORD (Coalition of Reforms and Democracy), ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) and JUBILEE. Also other main actors in the Sugar industry in Kenya, also main numbers for one of the factories called Mumias Sugar Company, which has had issues in the recent year.
To put a little history into this and surely forgotten near history is:
“A public spat over when 200 000 tons of duty-free sugar should be imported from the Common Market for East and Southern African (Comesa) bloc to forestall a sugar shortage in Kenya has exposed potential economic sabotage by members of the ruling party” (…) “On February 9, the board’s chief executive, Andrew Otieno Oloo, wrote a letter to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission and the National Security Intelligence Services accusing the ministers of attempting to execute fraudulent deals. Otieno said the sugar crisis had been orchestrated to trigger a price increase for the commodity” (…) “Two weeks ago, presidential aspirants Raila Odinga, William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi, Najib Balala and Kalonzo Musyoka — all from the opposition — also took the government to task over the delayed sugar imports and said the scheme was intended to create an artificial scarcity aimed at raising prices” (…) “The imported Comesa sugar would have stabilised sugar prices, which have already increased by more than 100%, to $2 from less than $1 a kilogram in October last year. The issue boiled over last December when Kimunya declined to expedite the government gazette notice, making it impossible for the sugar board and the Kenya Revenue Authority to set a date for traders to start importing the sugar” (…) “The scandal has further tarnished Kibaki’s image as he struggles to recover from a series of similar scandals that cost the taxpayer more than $100million between 2003, when he came to power, and 2004, when the details of the theft of public resources began to emerge” (…) “Kenya’s sugar needs are 800Â 000 tons per annum. It produces 600Â 000 tons and the remaining 200 000-ton deficit is bridged with imports from Comesa” (Kwayera, 2007).
Footage from KTN NEWS:
Footage from Kenya Citizen TV:
Amina Mohammed said today: “emphatically that the Uganda sugar deal has been blown out of proportion, with the main agenda of the visit totally forgotten” (…) ”That the only matter agreed upon was the establishment of an East Africa Sugar Board to protect Kenya’s sugar and ensure that what is being exported and imported is not from anywhere else apart from the region” (Kulundu, 2015).
The basic information quote on the sugar trade between Kenya and Uganda from the Joint Communique that came out the 10th of August from the Statehouse of Entebbe and the Republic of Uganda:
“President Museveni noted that Kenya exports to Uganda are estimated at $700 million compared to imports worth $180 million, and commended President Kenyatta for implementing initiatives that would contribute to bridging the trade gap. The two Heads of State observed that bilateral trade has potential to grow further and reaffirmed their commitment to the free movement of goods, Labour and services, including the elimination of all trade barriers” (Joint Communique, 2015)
Musailia Mudavadi has said the agreement has killed the goodwill of the 1sh billion bailout of Mumias Sugar Company. Statement on the 14th of August Mudavadi said: “Kenyans need to know what measures the government has taken to prevent unscrupulous importation of sugar from outside the Comesa protocol and channeling it through Uganda to circumvent the regulations under the Rules of Origin principles” (…) “There is a classic example of re-packaging Brazilian sugar and dumping it in the Kenyan market” (…) “The excuse of ‘balancing trade between our sister countries’ should not be used to enter into pacts that undermine local production” (…) “”It cannot be that his Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed says there is no agreement while the President defends the alleged agreement. Is there a pact or not? This contradiction needs correcting” (Ochieng, 2015).
What the ODM fear about the Sugar deal with Uganda:
“Kenya has arrived at that stage. There is clear evidence that we are dealing with a mafia regime in which individuals are pursuing personal interests in the name and the expense of the nation” (…) “The end game is to turn Kenyans into beggars who rely on the generosity of the thieves who will come to our aid through harambees and the other acts of alleged philanthropy” (…) “That is the story of Sugar. The same sugar, imported by government officials is, financing Al Shabaab who recently killed hundreds of university students in Garisssa, most of whom were from Western Kenya” (…) “In Western Kenya, they have attacked sugarcane in a double prolonged strategy. First, they will kill the factories. Next they will buy the factories” (…) “We have asked the president to explain to us how this deal helps the sugarcane farmers” (…) “We have asked the president to explain how this deal will help our industries prepare for the end of COMESA sugar protection period”(…) “Yes Kenyan Sugar is expensive. But it feeds the Kenyan farmers and it educated the children of sugarcane farmers. Yes Ugandan sugar is cheap. But it only feeds Uganda farmers and their children. No nation ever developed by abandoning its products” (…) “Buy Mumias Sugar, Sony Sugar, Nzoia Sugar, Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar and build the country” (Kulundu, 2015).
Cord Statement on sugar deal:
“Sugar production is vital to the economies of Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Busia, Kisumu, Migori, Narok and Kwale. There are 11 sugar factories in Kenya. Allowing the dumping of sugar in Kenya will devastate the economies of a quarter of the Counties of Kenya and a huge section of the rural agricultural population. This is economic sabotage on a grand scale. Grand Economic Sabotage is a crime. It is treasonable” (…) “ TWO MAFIAS? ONE IN KENYA ANOTHER IN UGANDA: The matter is urgent because of the statistics that Uganda does not produce a sugar surplus to be exported to fill Kenya’s supposed deficit allegedly of 200,000 tonnes. The model we fear is going to be used was last seen in 2008. Back then Hon. Kahinda OTAFIRE a close ally of President Museveni and a former head of Uganda’s intelligence service who is currently Uganda’s Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, got embroiled in a civil suit involving KSh. 50,000,000 (fifty million) worth of sugar that came into Mombasa from Dubai already in packed in Mumias Sugar Factory packets! It was meant to be dumped in the Kenyan market. Mumias Sugar Factory got involved in the case and two years later the sugar consignment was destroyed. We are headed in the same direction! It seems that a Kenyan mafia has conspired with a Ugandan one to profit from corruption that will serve only to impoverish Kenyans” (Kenya-Today, 2015).
“All CORD and its leader, Raila Odinga have done so far is to point fingers, cast blame, misinform, and compound the despondency already weighing down the sugar growing community” (…) “Mr. Ruto was appointed Minister for Agriculture, farmers were being paid a paltery KES 2500 per tonne of cane delivered to the factories. Because of interventions under Mr. Ruto’s leadership, including the cancellation of sugar permits of know sugar cartels, barons and brokers” (…) “It is well-establish matter of public record that Mr. Ruto bravely confronted sugar importation and smuggling cartels which dumped cheap sugar in the market, short-changing hardworking farmers” (…) “It is a fact that this threat to the monopoly and liquidity of sugar barons affected Mr. Odinga’s personal interests, leading to the unfortunate removal of Mr. Ruto from the Ministry of Agriculture. It is also a fact that Mr. Odinga has been inert bystander at best, or a conspirator of sugar, cartels as the farmers of Western Kenya and Nyanza suffered” (…) “Mr. Odinga has finally confessed that he owes the poor sugar cane farmers of Mumias hundreds of millions of shillings which he casually terms a commercial loans” (…) “Why did Mr. Odinga obtain this so-called commercial loan from poor peasant farmers instead of a approaching a commercial bank whose business it is to lend money?” (…) “We demand from Mr. Odinga and companies associated with him full disclosure of how much they owe Chemlil, Nzoia, Muhoroni, South Nyanza and other millers” (…) “Mr. Odinga is proposing to visit the people of Western Kenya, whom he owes money, his rallies will essentially be a meeting with his creditors. We sincerely hope that aside from cheap politics and empty rethoric, Mr. Odinga will present to the people of Western Kenya a credible repayment plan, outlining how he and companies associated with him intend to repay the money owed, to enable the peasant farmers take their children to school” (InLiveNews, 2015).
More to the story:
“William Ruto has called Raila Odinga “Lord of Poverty” while Odinga has fired back to Ruto calling him “High Priest of Corruption”. Majority leader Aden Duale says “All CORD and its leader, Raila have done is to point fingers, cast blame, misinform and compound the despondency already weighing down the sugar growing community” (…) Mr Duale also says “after the move, payment for sugarcane farmers shot from Sh2,500 to Sh3,800 a tonne and only went down after Mr. Ruto was sacked” (Jodie, 2015).
William Ruto has continued to say online: “Sugar cartels used PM’s office to orchestrate my removal because Gazette notice 3977 I signed cancelled their licences ending their schemes” (…) “While in western (essentially meeting with creditors) aside from rhetoric, I hope Cord presents a credible repayment plan of admitted debts” (…) “how that my friend Tinga (Raila) admits owing peasant cane farmers millions can he explain why he didn’t take this “commercial loan” from a bank?” (…)“Under what circumstances did Mr Odinga and companies associated with him contract a debt of such magnitude with poor innocent farmers?” (Jodie, 2015).
Kiprono Kittony commented to the media: “Importation is not meant to weaken the economy rather it serves to help bring development and collaboration between countries. Politics will not increase sugar” (…) “Most of the sugar companies in Uganda are private, that’s why they are able to produce more and better sugar than us. The Government should do the same and privatize our companies” (Mr. Kittony is the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry), (NairobiToday, 2015).
The former Presidential Campaign Manager for Raila Odinga, Mr. Eliud Owalo has said this about the Mumias scandal: “Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has been accused of systematically running down Mumias Sugar Company during his tenure as the Managing Director of the giant Sugar Miller. He was not MD of Mumias by virtue of being the Governor of Nairobi, and he must therefore be ready to bear responsibility as to costs and consequences of the same without dragging the Party into it” (…) “It does not help the Party cause to continue clinging onto Kidero in the face of serious allegations of graft at Mumias Sugar Company to the detriment of the people of Western Kenya whose single largest source of livelihood is now at stake.The Party risks losing its crucial Western support base by being seen to be protective of Kidero who has crippled the economy of the Western region, yet he is equally known to be one of the most disloyal members of the Party. Embarasingly, the Nairobi County Governer is heavily implicated in wanton land grabbing reminiscent of the Nyayo era yet both ODM and the CORD Coalition has maintained a studious silence on the same simply because it’s our own Governor is at the engine and otho-centre of the land scams” (Nairobi Forum, 2015).
Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko also spoke his peace: “I wish to table some audio clips and unfortunately it will not go down well with some people who will lose some confidence in me but for the sake of development of Nairobi County, allow me to table them” (…) “Peposi Freight Kenya Ltd was registered on December 23, 2014 and the next day opened an account at Cooperative Bank, City Hall branch. Sh7.6 million was wired from the Nairobi County Government for services never delivered” (Nairobi Forum, 2015).
Claims of bribes to seal a nice report:
“Drama started when two MPs claimed 20 members who signed the final report complied after a probe on Mumias Sugar Company had received a total of Sh64 Million to expunge some names from the report. The debate comes as the committee is embroiled in an allegations taking bribes to doctor the report over importation of sugar that contributed to crippling of the Mumias Sugar Company” (…) “The allegation and counter-allegation came after Washiali and Fred Outa (Nyando) claimed the MPs, including Committee chair, had received sh4m bribe to shared among 22 members who signed the altered report. Noor is being accused of reiciving the money after Lugari MP Ayub Savula, at a past committee, claimed a cheque from a local bank had been deposited into the chairman’s account” (…) “Washiali said further: “We have a feeling the Sh4m affected the outcome of the report. I know money was deposited into your (Noor) account that made you alter the report. This is the matter of life or death. Tell us who also benefited from it. We will not allow you to take advantage of our people” (…) “Washiali also took on Kimei, claiming he had hinted to him that a further Sh100m was being prepared for members to ensure they come up with “good report” (IGNITEKE, 2015).
Backdrop on Mumias fall and the numbers before the bailout:
It mentioned in the stories. I had started to write a few months ago on this. So this is just the backbone of a article. So here is a draft of numbers and information of the company that got bailed out during the year after terrible economic issues that it had. This here is a little basic and also far from digging through what I had at the time. But this is just a sidepiece to the quotes that are on the Kenyan-Uganda Sugar and trading deal between the countries after the state visit of Uhuru Kenyatta in Uganda around 10-11th of August 2015.
So enjoy the little information on Mumias Sugar Company:
Emis they described Mumias Sugar Company Ltd as this:”Mumias Sugar Company Limited is a Kenya-based company engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of sugar and the production of electricity. It manufactures molasses for industrial users, traders, farmers and individual purchasers” (…) “The Company also produces power through burning of baggasse, a waste product from sugarcane processing” (EMIS – Securities).
The important tales from the annual report of 2014 tells dangerous story. First with Mr. Ameyo describe the matter of the company and sugar industry got hit because of that. This starts with the unexpected low yield of sugarcane from the sugar-belt in Western-Kenya. Part of the operation issues was getting good quality cane. Year of 2014 was the production of Sugar went up by 14%. The Ethanol production from last fiscal year went up 210%. Molasses production went down because quality of the sugar-cane the downturn in production was total of 21%. This resulted in less export of electricity. All of this with also the higher price on production cost went up 18% (Ameyo, 2014).
COTU press release on the Mumias:
“Mumias Sugar Company limited is facing imminent closure soon if the kshs.1Billion promised to the Sugar Company by the government is not effected immediately and the closure will result into the eventual collapse of the Sugar Firm” (…) “he Western Region requesting government offices to intervene and ensure that Mumias Sugar firm does not collapse because such action will lead to over 500,000 families across the country losing their source of livelihood besides the millions of people that depend on the firm both directly and indirectly in the Western Kenya and outside” (…) “At the same time, COTU (K)’s concerns are informed by similar promises by the government that lead to the collapse of Pan Paper Mills in Webuye and we are sure that soon after the collapse of Mumias Sugar firm, Nzoia Sugar Company will be on live and this will no doubt be the worst raw deal that the Kenyan people would have received from its government and it will be an uphill tasks for anybody to revive these plants” (…) “Thousands of workers now at Mumias Sugar Company are at risk of losing their jobs as do other workers within the production and distribution chain and the Kenyan economy will be worst hit at the closure of Mumias Sugar Company” (COTU, 2015).
Certain people owning Mumias money by June of 2015:
“Otifier Logistics is the highest debtor owing Mumias Sugar Company 36.6 million shillings followed by Spectre International Limited which is associated with the Odinga family that has a debt of 33.9 million shillings” (…) “Otifier Logistics that owes Mumias Sugar Company 36.6 million shillings. Second is Spectre International Limited, a company associated with the Odinga family which owes Mumias Sugar 33.9 million shillings for molasses bought from the miller” (…) “Uchumi Supermarkets also features on the list owing the sugar miller 6.6 million shillings for sugar” (…) “Ukwala Supermarket, Nairobi with a debt of 2.8 million and Yatin Supermarket that owes the miller 319,320 shillings” (…) “Unilever Kenya is also listed as having a debt of 2.2 million shillings” (…) “Mumias Sugar says it is owed a total of 241 million shillings by several companies and individuals” (The Uchaguzi, 2015).
Youth from the Mumias Sugar Belt have alleged that the driving force in “reconciliation” of Senator Bonny Khalwale and Governor Evans Kidero is a 50 million prize money being dangled to abort justice:
“All of us victims of the plunder of Mumias Sugar Company, by a powerful politically connected Cartel, are very alarmed at emerging information that corrupt, evil underground maneuvers are underway to kill off the ongoing clamor, for justice and retribution, by elected leaders and wananchi in the Mumias Sugar belt and Western Kenya in General” (…) “the main target is Kakamega Senator Dr. Bonny Khalwale alongside dozens of other vocal leaders both on the ground in Western and here in Nairobi. We are alarmed that a section of top political leaders, are the chief architects of this heinous betrayal of poor sugarcane farmers and are hiding behind what they call “RECONCILING Dr. Khalwale and Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero” (…) “Governor Oparanya’s loud silence, his ruthless attacks against Kakamega County Assembly Majority leader Cleophas Malala and others whenever they publicly condemn the looting of Mumias and his recent fraudulent dolling out of Sh. 200 million to Mumias instead of calling for the thieves who fleeced the Company to return the loot, confirms our worst fears that the ODM top leadership is complicit in the Mumias Scandal and hence their efforts to intervene are a cover up, which we reject” (…) “Apart from Governor Oparanya, CORD Principal Raila Odinga has been admitting on several Vernacular FM stations that his Company is one of the many debtors who owe Mumias Sugar Company a lot of money. Initially he blamed it on the bank that gave his firm some credit facility to buy Molasses from Mumias. Then when the people are expecting him to lead by example by promptly paying the debt, he popped up in a funeral mass in Kakamega last weekend and denied owing Mumias. That double speak tells a lot. He thinks people have short memories such that he can just play around with their problems” (…) “Dr. Khalwale and other targeted Luhyia leaders should know that accepting to back down from the campaign for the punishment of those who destroyed Mumias and accepting to be given financial inducement will be the biggest betrayal of our farmers and the entire Luhyia Community. The only compromise we can agree is a total refund to Mumias Sugar, full payment for farmers’ cane deliveries that are in arrears for the past several years and key suspects in the looting to organize a public repentance and apology by all the thieves” (The Gazette Daily, 2015).
And the final numbers from the End of Year and Financial Statement from the Mumias Sugar Company:
|Total Equity and liability (shs ‘000)||27,400,113||27,281,993||23,563,086|
|Cash & Cash Equivalents at the end of Year||(940,281)||(1,356,124)|
This has been a long enough blog/article for the internet. But its sure sweet with details and sure Raila Odinga doesn’t come out of this well. Because the table is turned on him since he went after Uhuru Kenyatta and he has borrowed money from the company that recently got saved by the government. An because of the scandal of Mumias Sugar Company I had already a lot of documentation before the Uganda-Kenya import deal that was supposed to happen and be ready after the 10th August 2015. Since that Raila Odinga, the CORD and ODM went bananas and wanted to have a upraising in the Western Kenya where the Sugarcane famers that supply the Mumias Sugar Company reside and where the farmers earn their living deliver the cane to the factory with mills it. Though the economy and corruption of the company has come to the surface and tells that something is not right. And if there are personal connections for Odinga and need extra the sugar mills, as it seems there are reasons to doubt the real political plan of Odinga. As Ruto and Kenyatta has bailed out Mumias and might have signed or gotten to a level of planning to open the borders for sugar and commodities as the ‘Joint Communique’ tells. There is certainties that of “President Museveni noted that Kenya exports to Uganda are estimated at $700 million compared to imports worth $180 million, and commended President Kenyatta for implementing initiatives that would contribute to bridging the trade gap” (Joint Communique, 2015). Which tells the story in general that there will be more trading from Uganda to Kenya, and at the same time will also open the borders more from the Kenyan side.
This has sure not been the cup of tea that the Kenyan Government and the President Uhuru Kenyatta wished to see after being for a visit in Uganda earlier this month. Secondly after bailing out of Mumias Sugar Company should seem like the trading agreement with Uganda shouldn’t spoil that, even if they can import Ugandan Sugar, for the simple sense, the Kenyan community might get more easily sell products in Uganda as well. I doubt that the deal and agreement will be a one-way traffic train between the nations. Then its Raila Odinga who isn’t drinking, but the coastal drink of Mnazi. And with the information I get, I miss a lot of leads and structures. I wish I had more rough numbers and actual facts then hearsay and statements from the parties. With the scandals and probes proves that their certainties of some conspiracy, but where it might lead is scary in Kenya, therefore we haven’t been to bottom of it, or that the Mumias Sugar Company and Sugar Cartel has the hold of politicians so they won’t speak, because they getting behind keeping their mouth shut. An Raila Odinga is in debt to the Sugar Company together with other big shots! While the Government and Jubilee want support in Western Kenya so they support Mumias Sugar Company because of the farmers it feed. While this Sugar agreement and import option set it at risk, but that will also be for all the other millers that grind sugar in the Country! But if you want to be good neighbors and trade, you got to import and export produce between them. Which I think is something Uhuru Kenyatta understands and might think in his mind that is a possibility to continue to grow the Kenyan economy. In the end might not be wrong and give an edge to both countries. Not just sugar in the tea that there is in the talks for now, but everything else as well in time after there been an issue with the chickens and Migingo Island in Lake Victoria, and the fisheries and fishing industry for both countries!
Ameyo, Dan – ‘Mumias Sugar Company Limited – Annual Report and Financial Statements’ (30.06.2014)
COTU – ‘imminent closure of Mumias Sugar Company’ (06.06.2015) link:
IGNITEKE – ‘MPs in a bitter row over Sh60m sugar bribe’ (18.03.2015) link: http://ignitekenya.com/mps-in-bitter-row-over-sh60m-sugar-bribe/
Joint Communique Issued During the State Visit by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya (10.08.2015) – 10th August, Entebbe, Uganda, Released by the Republic of Uganda
Jodie, Vanessa – ‘Raila fired me because I cancelled sugar barons’ licences, claims Ruto’ (19.08.2015) link: http://www.hero.co.ke/raila-fired-cancelled-sugar-barons-licences-claims-ruto/
Kenya Forum – ‘ELIUD OWALO CALLS FOR KIDERO AND ABABU TO BE KICKED OUT OF ODM’ (10.03.2015) link: http://www.kenyaforum.net/2015/03/10/eliud-owalo-calls-for-kidero-and-ababu-to-be-kicked-out-of-odm/
Kenya Today – ‘Raila takes Uhuru SUGAR ‘WAR’ to Ground Zero, CORD to hold RALLIES in the SUGAR BELT’ (18.08.2015) link: http://www.kenya-today.com/politics/raila-takes-uhuru-sugar-war-ground-zero-cord-to-hold-rallies-in-the-sugar-belt
Kulundu, Mary – ‘Amina Mohammed: Let Me Put This Matter To Rest’ (19.08.2015) link: http://www.kenyans.co.ke/news/amina-mohammed-let-me-put-matter-rest
Kwayera, Juma – ‘Sugar scam stirs slush fund fears’ (05.03.2007) link: http://mg.co.za/article/2007-03-05-sugar-scam-stirs-slush-fund-fears
Mumias Sugar Company Limited (Kenya) – link: http://www.securities.com/php/company-profile/KE/Mumias_Sugar_Company_Limited_en_2129630.html
NairobiToday – ‘Shock As Experts Now Abandon Raila Odinga Over His Selfish Political Gains & Uganda Sugar Deal Rhetoric’ (20.08.2015) link: http://www.nairobitoday.co.ke/2015/08/20/shock-as-experts-now-abandon-raila-odinga-over-his-selfish-political-gains-uganda-sugar-deal-rhetoric/
Ochieng, Justus – ‘Kenya: Sugar Deal Ruins Mumias Goodwill, Says Mudavadi’ (15.08.2015) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201508150312.html
Statement by the Orange Democratic Movement – KENYANS TO FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD (18.08.2015) link: http://www.kenyan-post.com/2015/08/odm-exposes-ruto-and-uhurus-brookside.html
The Gazette Weekly – ‘Youth allege 50m in Senator Bonny Khalwale and Governor Evans Kidero truce talks’ (02.08.2015) link: http://kakamega411.com/5434/youth-allege-50m-in-senator-bonny-khalwale-and-governor-evans-kidero-truce-talks/
The Uchaguzi – ‘Mumias Sugar says it’s owed shs.241m by several companies and individuals’ (25.06.2015) link: http://uchaguzi.co.ke/mumias-sugar-says-its-owed-shs-241m-by-several-companies-and-individuals/
InLiveNews – Statement from Jubilee – ‘Statement in the interest of the truth for the sake of sugar farmer’ (18.08.2015) link: http://www.inlivenews.com/188807/a-statement-from-uhuru-rutos-jubilee-exposes-raila-odinga-badly-read-it-here/