AU’s special Envoy and the leader of ODM Party Raila Odinga has begged Kenya Union of Sugarcane Plantation and Allied Workers to withdraw the petition that suspended the leasing of five State-owned millers.
Raila, the political enigma said on Friday that the decision by the Employment and Labour Relations Court was a frustration on plans to rescue the ailing sector.
“Some people have gone to court to stop the process … What they need to understand is that the government does not have to do this. It is only doing this to help farmers. If the process is stopped it is the people who will suffer. I am shocked that the court issued such sanctions yet it is not a matter of life and death issue.
While the rule of law must be observed, other factors must be considered as the matter of profitable cane farming is important for Western region’s residents. The Judiciary is independent and we don’t want to interfere with its work but that doesn’t mean it cannot be corrected. You can actually criticise a ruling which you think is unfair. The process is already ongoing so when an injunction is issued, it appears you are really trying to frustrate it, which isn’t in the interests of the people.” Raila Odinga said when he visited Kisumu County after a five-month absence.
Raial said the workers’ ‘bad taste’ move will prove costly to thousands of farmers and others whose livelihoods depend on cane farming.
“Rather than stop the process, I plead with the workers to withdraw the case so that the process can go on.”
In the ruling on August 13, the court temporarily stopped the leasing of Chemelil, Miwani (under receivership), Muhoroni (under receivership), Nzoia and South Nyanza sugar companies pending hearing and determination of the union’s case.
Justice Nduma Nderi suspended any business in relation to the leasing after the union claimed it had been side-lined in the process and cited the government’s failure to clear a payment of Sh5 billion.
Union General-Secretary Francis Wangara accused Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya of ignoring their concerns despite writing a letter to his office.
Raila, who is now more of a government spokesman due to his political alignment with the rulling regime believes that this privatisation process has to be completed.
The ODM leader says factories will re-open for the debt to be paid as operations continue.
“The government is doing this to help the farmers. If it is stopped, the only losers will be the common mwananchi and farmers. I know some workers are owed money but you can’t get the salaries before the plants start operating, therefore stopping the process so that you are paid is not right
“I am pleading with those people to withdraw the case so that the process of leasing can continue. Why issue an injunction instead of inviting the government to give its side of the story? If our courts are going to stop the government from doing projects, it won’t auger well with development plans for our people. The court should have weighed the cost of its decision first.”
My question is, has Pan Paper ever been opened since it was sold to Jaswat Rai?
Baba @RailaOdinga, Please note that we are not opposed to the leasing of the five public sugar factories but we are only worried that Jaswant Rai will lease them bringing monopoly into the sector as he did to Timber when he bought off Webuye Panpaper mills. Please give us hope. pic.twitter.com/MGoJgjPV00
— JOSEPH BARASA (@BarasaJoseph) August 14, 2020
What is the functional mode or plan that Raila Odinga thinks these sugar monopoly deals will revive the dead and terribly falling sugar millers?