Politicians from the sugar-belt region in Western Kenya on Saturday openly blasted with DP William Ruto over the sugar importation saga.
This was after Ruto defended Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his EAC counterpart Aden Mohammed and instead blamed members of the ad-hoc committee of Trade and Agriculture for doing shoddy investigations.
“There was a problem with sugar importation and when the matter went to parliament for investigation, those who were supposed to investigate instead took selfies with the suspects. When they were asked to write the report they had nothing to write and instead said Rotich and Aden should be sacked,” he said.
“There is a lot of confusion. Even if you impeach the CSs and the importers are still walking free, what will you have achieved?” he posed.
But Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe defended the report saying it had recommended the investigation and prosecution of 134 importers of bad sugar.
“It is wrong for some people to mislead the DP to say wrong things in public. If that is the direction, throwing sugarcane farmers under the bus, then there is a problem,” Wangwe said.
Wangwe is the vice chairman of the agriculture committee.
“We did not go through school but we went to school. The report is properly written and we have pointed out in the report where the contaminated sugar is,” he said.
MPs shot down the report a week ago. It was co-written by the Agriculture and Trade committees and co-chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega (Trade) and his Mandera South counterpart Adan Ali (Agriculture).
Tongareni MP Eseli Simiyu said that rejection of the sugar report was part of the wider scheme by powerful individuals in government to collapse the sugar sector in Western Kenya.
“Some people are coming here to tell us that the sugar industry must turn around plans before the government can act yet both Mumias and Nzoia sugar companies have already submitted the strategic revival plans,” he said.
The leaders spoke during the Lurambi MP Titus Khamala’s thanksgiving ceremony at Mwangaza primary school in Lurambi sub-county.
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi who was chief guest doubted the government’s commitment of reviving the sugar sector.
“The DP is telling us that the government has disbursed Sh4 billion to Mumias and is not ready to give more unless a turnaround plan is ready yet they have let sugar barons get away with Sh34 billion in tax exemption. What are we saying?” he posed.
Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba said government officials were covering each other in the sugar importation saga.
Bumula MP Mabonga Mwambu said Rotich and Mohammed must take responsibility because they failed to regulate the imports and ensure imported sugar met the required standards.
Washiali said he seconded MP Millie Odhiambo’s amendment to the report to make Rotich take responsibility because the back stops with him as the one who signed the gazette notice.