Cord yesterday claimed that President Uhuru Kenyatta secured the controversial Uganda sugar deal at the expense of the interests of 10 million poor Kenyans.
And Deputy President William Rutto insisted that Raila Odinga owes Mumias Sugar KSh33 million.
In an unprecedented attack, Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula said that President Kenyatta mortgaged 10 million poor Kenyans in the sugar belt to secure a safe market for milk produced by Brookside Dairy Ltd, a company linked to his family.
Brookside Dairy, also known as Brookside Dairies, is a consortium with majority shareholding by the Kenyatta family. It recently took over Uganda’s leading dairy operator, Sameer Agriculture and Livestock Limited, making it yet another acquisition by the Ruiru-based processor.
Brookside has operations in Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda.
“What the President did is economic sabotage on a grand scale. Grand economic sabotage is a crime. It is treasonable,” Wetang’ula, the Bungoma Senator and Ford Kenya leader, said at a joint press conference with Cord and ODM leader Raila.
But in a swift rejoinder Deputy President Ruto accused Raila of fighting the sugar deal with Uganda to cover up for money he owes Mumias Sugar, a once-thriving miller that is struggling financially.
Ruto challenged Raila to use his Western Kenya tour later this week to pay the money his company owes the ailing Mumias.
Ruto also accused the former Prime Minister of engineering his exit from government in 2010 over the then Agriculture minister’s efforts to deal with sugar cartels and smuggling barons.
“Now that my friend Tinga admits owing peasant cane farmers millions, can he explain why he didn’t take this ‘commercial loan’ from a bank? While in Western (essentially meeting with creditors), aside from rhetoric, I hope Cord presents a credible repayment plan of admitted debts,” Ruto posted on his official Twitter account.
He added: “Sugar cartels used PM’s office to orchestrate my removal because Gazette Notice 3977 I signed cancelled their licenses, ending their schemes.”
In June, the struggling Mumias Sugar Company disclosed that it was owed up to Sh300 million by several local companies.
Spectre International Limited, a company associated with the Odinga family, owes Mumias Sugar Sh33.9 million for molasses bought from the miller.
However, Raila has denied that he owes any money to Mumias Sugar, accusing the Jubilee government of trying to divert attention.
“If there was a commercial debt, it is a commercial debt and there is nothing wrong with that. I want to say here without fear of contradiction that there is no debt owed,” Raila said.
The Cord team is on the warpath with Jubilee and is clutching to the sugar deal to completely ring-fence the Western Kenya vote bloc from President Kenyatta.
On Monday, Raila responded to criticism from Ruto by calling him the “the high priest of corruption in Kenya.”