Cord leader Raila Odinga has warned Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to keep off Kenya’s internal affairs.
Addressing hundreds of Bungoma residents at the Bungoma bus terminal after meeting the region’s ODM party delegates, Raila said, “He has no idea of how poor sugarcane farmers are suffering. We do not interfere in Ugandan matters, therefore he should also not interfere with our local issues.”
The former Prime Minister was continuing with his anti-Uganda sugar rallies in the Kenyan sugar belt.
While Kenya has denied entering into an agreement with Uganda to export excess sugar to Kenya, the opposition has insisted that a deal was reached and if it is allowed to go ahead, it will kill the sugar industry and impoverish the millions of Kenyans in Western Kenya who depend on it.
Museveni, confirming the deal and calling for it to be implemented immediately, has told Raila to stop fighting the Uganda sugar importation deal.
“Let Raila allow our sugar to go into Kenya without interference, just like we allow Kenyan goods to enter Uganda without interference,” Museveni told an East African Legislative Assembly MPs’ meeting in Kampala recently.
The Cord leader has told the Ugandan President that he cannot dictate to him what to say since he has a role to play in Kenya as the leader of the opposition.
Raila said that Kenyan sugar farmers and factories have been very adversely affected by the importation of cheap sugar by barons who smuggle the commodity through the port of Kisimayu, ferry it to Uganda, where it is repackaged and then sent to Kenyan supermarkets.
“Recently, we saw President Uhuru come to Mumias and give a Sh1 billion cheque to revive the firm, but we are wondering where Mumias will find sugarcane if farmers start uprooting it.
“The Ugandan deal will flood the market and the sugar that will be produced by Mumias and other factories will not have a market and farmers will not be paid,” said Raila.
ODM secretary general Ababu Namwamba also took issue with Museveni, describing him as a dictator.
“Ugandan dictatorship and prevention of freedom of expression cannot be allowed in Kenya. Let Museveni do that in his country,” said Ababu.
“We know Uganda does not have enough sugar to supply to its citizens, let alone export to Kenya,” he said.