Sugarcane farmers drawn from Western Kenya have asked Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to stop meddling in the Mumias Sugar Company leasing process.
Led Kenya Association of Sugar and Allied Products (KASAP) Secretary-General Peter Odima, and his counterpart from Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers Simon Wesechere, the farmers claimed that the Kakamega County Chief has been pushing Mumias Sugar Receiver Manager Pattadakal Venkanna Raghavendra Rao to ignore Senate’s directive requiring re-advertisement of the takeover bid.
However, over the weekend, Oparanya appeared to discredit the decision by Senate’s Agriculture Committee as he claimed that they (Senators) had no powers to direct Mr Rao on how to proceed with the process of the lease.
“The Senate committee wants to say that it can stop the process of leasing Mumias to continue. What powers do they have?” Oparanya said.
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These sentiments, according to the farmers, confirm that Oparanya is hell-bent on having Devki Steels Company Limited awarded the lease.
“We are privy to the information that governor Oparanya is asking Mumias Sugar Receiver Manager to ignore the recommendations of the Senate and bring in Devki by force, we shall resist,” they said.
This was after Devki’s Narendra Raval came out publicly to say he was ready and willing to direct some Ksh. 5 billion towards the revival of Mumias Sugar Company.
They argued that their concerns are valid and that it would be a huge “mistake should Rao ignore the senators and follow Oparanya’s advice. They warned Rao to take instructions from Oparanya at his own risk.
According to Odima and Wesechere, Oparanya had nine years to revive Mumias but did nothing only to start forcing things to be done as he wants for the reasons best known to him.
Odima said,” Oparanya should retire and go home. We are warning that as farmers we shall resist skewed plans to force someone in the same of investor down our throat.”
“Oparanya likes pushing things even where it is not possible, he tried that in Matungu and was shown dust, we are now telling him again to stop meddling in the process leasing out because it is going to backfire on him so badly,” said Manda.
The Senate came in following concerns from the farmers, leaders, and other stakeholders who said the process was not transparent.
The farmers have asked Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to be careful not to be misled on the matter. They want the CS to ensure that proper procedures are followed as far as leasing of Mumias Sugar is concerned.