Uhuru-Uganda Sugar Deal Sour, Says Raila (allAfrica.com)

Cord leader Raila Odinga yesterday termed as “dangerous and reckless” some of the trade deals signed by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni (Uganda).

He said allowing cheaper Ugandan sugar into the Kenyan market will kill the country’s sugar industry.

Raila also claimed some of the Kenyatta-Museveni deals such as exporting beef and dairy products to Uganda could have been influenced by private business interests.

In his three-day visit to Uganda, Kenyatta and Museveni struck a deal to allow cheaper Ugandan sugar into the Kenyan market and Kenyan beef and dairy products to the Uganda market.

Raila termed the sugar deal “sour”, coming at a time when the taxpayer is struggling to resuscitate Mumias Sugar Company.

“It seems reckless of the government to put money into a struggling sugar firm then proceeds to sign a deal whose effect will be to flood the market with cheap imported sugar,” Raila said in a statement.

In June, President Kenyatta issued a Sh1 billion bailout to revamp Mumias Sugar Company.

This drew political approval from a section of Luhya politicians.

Yesterday, Raila urged Uhuru to make public the entire content of the trade agreements signed with Uganda for scrutiny.

“Kenyans need to be told how this deal benefits our sugar industry, how we will police the Uganda sugar sector to ensure what is exported to Kenya originates from that country and Kenyan traders do not take advantage to sneak in their own imports,” he said.

Raila said some of the deals could have been influenced by family interests.

“We doubt that the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries and the Kenya Meat Commission have the capacity to export dairy and beef to Uganda,” he said.

Raila said there is a reason to suspect that personal business interests are colliding with official duty to override propriety and accountability on matters of bilateral trade.

Raila hit out at Jubilee for “secret contracts” giving the example of awarding of tenders for the management of the new KPA terminal and the construction of the Uganda-Kenya crude oil pipeline.

“The contracts mark a continuation of deals similarly shrouded in secrecy, mostly through single sourcing and where personal business interests override national interests,” he said.

The tribulations of Kenya Airways equally results from such shadowy negotiations over national assets for private business gains, Raila said.

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