The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) ordered the immediate closure of Kibos and Allied Sugar Company in Kisumu County over pollution. NEMA order affected all associated factories, including the distillery, paper plant, gas plant, and a sugar miller.
Nema’s Director-General Mamo Boru Mamo on 5th March said the decision was taken after the company defied air quality regulations of 2014 and failed to comply with other orders.
“Nema did ambient air quality monitoring. The results show a very high concentration of particulate matter (PM), which was found to be above the national air quality standard of PM10. Unfortunately, Kibos is doing 245 micrometers which is more than five times the internationally accepted standard of 50 micrometers,” he said.
The company’s management declined to comment on the worker’s protest and closure of the factory.
“I have nothing to say about the sequence of events concerning Kibos Sugar,” said Group Corporate Affairs Manager Joyce Opondo.
Amid protests against the factory’s closure by Nema, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o issued a statement saying it would be reopened and a different approach taken in the resolution of the dangerous gas emissions problem.
“I have discussed the issue of Kibos factory with Nema officials and we have agreed that there will be no closure of the factory as reported in the media,” he said.
Kenyan Bulletin reached for comment and the Nema’s Director-General Mamo Boru Mamo denied Governor Nyong’o’s claim that the closure decision had been rescinded.
The governor said a meeting of Kibos management, a county team and Nema representatives resolved not to close the factory but Mr. Mamo said no such decision had been made.
“We never had any such meeting with the professor. Our orders still stand. We said we will only reopen the factory when Kibos complies by installing an efficient air conditioning system. That remains the position,” he said.
RAI Interests in NUCLEAR FARMS
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o blamed the closure of a private miller in the region on unfair competition by RAI and other unnamed rivals, sugar barons.
“Kibos remains the only functioning miller in this region, where local farmers take their produce. He wants it to stall while his factory in western continues to operate. We will not allow him to succeed in this scheme,” said the governor.
Regarding the rights of cane farmers, the governor said he had been leading the push, and that the sugar task force will help address the many problems in the sector.
“We finished the report and the Council of Governors chairman, Mr. Wycliffe Oparanya, forwarded the report to the Agriculture CS who later handed it to the President. We are now waiting for directions,” he stated in Miwani during the burial of Paul Ogoda, who was the brother of former Kisumu senator candidate Ochola Ogoda.
It is emerging, Kibos Sugar was not constructed as per Nema specifications hence the current controversy surrounding its operations. According to locals, the current controversy is not political but scientific. As a result, it needs a scientific solution and not a political way of life to fix things.
Sources within Nema reveal that Kibos Sugar management has a list of Nema concerns that need to be addressed. Instead of spending money to solve the beckoning environmental headache, the funds are instead being channeled to politicians to seek a political solution, and not based on scientific authority and findings.
Kisumu women representative Rose Buyu as a perfect case study. She was recently busy in parliament lobbying for Kibos Sugar to be cleared by the parliamentary committee. When asked her role in the Kibos survival strategy, she tried to reach out to Luo MPs to meet a powerful cabinet minister to intercede for Kibos Sugar.
When asked what her role in the Kibos crisis was, she claimed that being Kisumu women rep, she was not happy with the happenings. When pressed to name MP of the area, Buyu surprised many when she claimed, Shakeel Shabir was the MP.
However, those present were surprised when Shabir interjected and claimed, Onyango K’oyoo of Muhoroni is the area MP.
The confusion ended with a plan to have legislators meet the CS. The most laughable aspect of Buyu conspiracy is that after parliament adjourned, and speaker Justin Muturi slapped a ban on all parliamentary committee meetings due to coronavirus crisis menace, Buyu together with Kasipul Kabondo MP Charles Ong’ondo and Kipkelion’s Hilary Kosgey, all who are members of the parliamentary environment committee, purportedly held a meeting with Nema director-general where they took him to task on why Kibos Sugar should not be left alone to operate. They argued that the Kibos Sugar woes were due to politics and outside interference by the powerful Asian Rai family.
Politicians from the county of Kisumu have abandoned representing interests of the electorate and instead of addressing health hazards and other human concerns, they are now on attacking Nema while people continue to live without employment with health taking a toll on them.
Sources within parliament reveal that no committee meeting took place and the act was to justify they were doing the best to rescue Kibos Sugar from its current quagmire.
Apart from the environmental committee, Buyu has also been lobbying to have a parliamentary committee on education drop summonses on Kibos Sugar management. Locals are asking why Buyu has not intervened for Agro-Chemical Factory in the same county closed by Nema on similar grounds like Kibos sugar.
Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo termed the closure a knee jerk reaction in an effort to deal with environmental pollution.
“We have new players who have been adversely mentioned as fuelling the lake’s pollution. Why have they been left out? Agro-Chemical and Food Company in Muhoroni has been operating for the past 30 years. I believe Nema had been giving them a clean bill of health.”
Kenyan Bulletin sources avered that Kisumu governor, Anyang Nyong’o, who was initially backing Kibos management, has made a 90-degree retreat. The governor had been briefed that Agro-Chemical was closed earlier than Kibos.
Money hungry politicians are capitalizing on current Kibos stalemate with Nema to make a fortune and a kill. For now, Buyu has the support of Senator Fred Outa and Kibos sugar hunter dog former MCA John Ongau.
Kisumu county MPs said to be backing NEMA move are Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West), Shabir Shakeel (Kisumu East), Fred Ouda (Kisumu Central), James Nyikal (Seme) and Onyango K’oyoo (Muhoroni) while Jared Okelo (Nyando) is said to be sitting on the fence.