Debate on privatisation of sugar factories intensifies

Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati (Right), Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya (Photo/Sakwa)
KAKAMEGA, KENYA: A section of leaders from the Western region has started to dig into plans to privatize Mumias Sugar Company.
Speaking in Matungu over the weekend, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati first threw the spanner in the works saying governors from the sugar belt were in total agreement that there will be no any discussion concerning privatization without the inclusion of county governments.
“About sugar industry, in attestation of Kakamega Governor Oparanya, we have agreed on one thing that if there will be any privatization governors must be on that table,” he said.
He was reacting on Matungu lawmaker’s Justus Murunga claims that the miller could be privatized together with its vast nucleus.
Murunga claimed that some leaders were hell-bent to see Mumias privatized but in reality, they were salivating for its vast estates including the nucleus.
“They want to cheat us of privatization then eventually buy it themselves but they must know we are not going to take it lightly even if it means fighting alone then be it,” he warned.
He said the land on which Mumias Sugar lies is a communal land and it would be impossible to transfer the nucleus to a few private individuals.
According to him, if the selling Mumias would be necessary then better the machines go but not the communal land on which the giant miller lies.
He explained that locals leased Mumias nucleus for 33 years as per the agreement and it should not be part of privatization ploy.
“You can hire out the machines but leave the nucleus to the county government,” said Murunga.
Mr. Oparanya on his part said all governors within the sugar belt were members of his task force and that every concern will be addressed in consideration of the farmer. "We cannot do anything which cannot help our farmers. We will come up with a report which the president will admit or reject," he said.

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Mumias SugarBungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamat