Ababu Rejects Meeting With Uhuru Over Sugar Deal, Western MPs Invited to State House Today (allAfrica.com)

Western MPs have skipped a meeting they were invited to at State House saying more leaders should have been asked to attend.

Led by ODM secretary general Ababu Namwamba, they said the “scanty” sugar deal should be broad enough to include leaders from all regions.

“It is the position of the (Western Kenya Parliamentary) Caucus that the sugar question goes beyond western Kenya stretching to the Nyanza and coastal sugar belts,” Ababu said.

“We are aware that Nzoia, West Kenya, Butali, Sony and other companies have lots of sugar in their stores. We believe this matter is more urgent than talking about imports.”

He spoke during a press conference by the caucus at Parliament Buildings on Thursday.

The Western leaders had been invited to the meeting, that was to take place at 8am, by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“Any agreement with anybody can only be for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of our people. Following our deliberations the caucus has resolved to politely decline the invitation,” Ababu said.

He added that he is standing in solidarity with “long-suffering” farmers who “remain committed to defend, protect and advance the best economic interests of the people of Western Kenya”.

The farmers are “sinking further and further into the economic abyss” making it difficult for more cane to be collected for crushing, he said.

The opposition has criticised Uhuru over the deal saying it will result in losses for farmers.

On Tuesday, Uhuru responded to backlash from Cord leader Raila Odinga saying he “would rather import sugar from Uganda than Brazil”.

He said the new deal with Uganda is key to addressing Kenya’s shortfall as the product is cheaper there, and that it is more reasonable than importing from overseas.

“To my elder brother Raila, don’t criticise me for the sake of criticism,” he said, adding that the opposition should not lash out over deals made during his state visit to Uganda.

“If you want to accuse me of something, do it, but correct me where I am going wrong, don’t take me back.”

Uhuru made the remarks when he presided over the closing of the Eastern Africa Regional Pan African Congress at the KICC on Wednesday.

“We have two options. We can either seek the future we want together or just sit back and complain, he said.

Raila, who also attended the closing of the congress, said; “I’m not opposed to intra-Africa trade; I will not be against Kenya trading with Uganda.”

“All we want is protection for Kenyan cane farmers,” he told the meeting after Uhuru left.