Uhuru 'Secretive' About Trade Deals, Raila Says, Demands Details of Uganda Visit (allAfrica.com)

The government’s deals with other countries are “made through single sourcing and shrouded in secrecy”, Cord leader Raila Odinga has claimed.

Raila accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of giving national interests a back seat and asked him to make public all the content of his trade agreements with Uganda.

He said the revelation of the details of all deals Kenya has made with other countries will allow scrutiny of benefits to workers, farmers and tax payers.

“We have reason to suspect that personal business interests are colliding with official duty to override propriety and accountability on matters of bilateral trade,” he said.

“We are losing faith that the Jubilee regime is and has been negotiating bilateral deals in the best interest of Kenyans.”

Uhuru was in Uganda last weekend for a state visit during which he held talks with Museveni, met Kenyans and addressed parliament.

Raila said details emerging from the visit indicate Uhuru committed to an agreement that will allow importation of “cheaper” sugar and exportation of beef and dairy products.

“This deal on sugar is sour. It comes at a time when Kenya’s leading manufacturer, Mumias Sugar, is struggling to get back on its feet. Sugar cane farmers across the country are equally struggling as a result of lack of payments,” he said.

“Equally tasteless is the deal on beef and dairy products. We doubt that the Kenya Co-operative Creameries and the Kenya Meat Commission currently have the capacity to export dairy and beef to Uganda”.

Raila said it is therefore unclear who the “dangerous and reckless” deals will benefit.

It was also “reckless” for the government to inject a “tax-payer-funded bailout”, into a struggling sugar firm then sign a deal that will flood the market with “cheap imports”, he said.

“Such deals has been witnessed in the awarding of tenders for the management of the new KPA terminal and the construction of the Uganda-Kenya crude oil pipeline,” he said.

Kenya and Uganda have reached a final decision on the route for a crude pipeline linking their newly found oilfields to the Coast.

A fall in oil prices in the past year has knocked other oil projects off the agenda, but analysts say the Kenya and Uganda plans are unlikely to be shelved as they are relatively easy and cheap to access compared to offshore finds.

Raila said Kenyans need to be told how the deal benefits the sugar industry, and the approach to policing, to ensure the imports originate from Uganda, explained.

He said local traders cannot sneak in their own imports and that citizens must not be “duped into supporting deals that only bequeath a mortgaged future to the country”.

The opposition leader added that the tribulations of national carrier Kenya Airways result from “shadowy negotiations over national assets for private business gains”.

During his address to the Uganda parliament on Monday, Uhuru warned the opposition against abusing democratic freedoms to discredit the state.

He asked leaders to be patriotic and loyal to their governments’ stability.