Cord leader Raila Odinga questions Uhuru-Museveni trade deal

NAIROBI, KENYA: Cord leader Raila Odinga has challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to make public, deals signed with Uganda on his trip which ended on Monday this week.

In a statement, Raila questioned Uhuru’s commitment to reviving local sugar industries when recent visit to Uganda indicated that he committed to an agreement that will allow cheaper Ugandan sugar into the Kenyan market.

“This deal on sugar is sour. It comes at a time Kenya’s leading sugar 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,” said Mr. Odinga.

“The pact flies in the face of the government’s stated attempt to revive Mumias Sugar through tax-payer funded bailout. He wondered why government would put billions into a struggling sugar firm then proceeds to sign a deal whose effect will be to flood the market with cheap imported sugar,” he noted.

Raila also questioned a deal which will allow cheaper Kenyan beef and dairy products to the Uganda market.

He expressed doubt on the capacity of Kenya Co-operative Creameries and the Kenya Meat Commission to deliver. “It is therefore unclear who this deal is meant to benefit in Kenya. The deal therefore seems dangerous and reckless.”

“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 such has been witnessed in the awarding of tenders for the management of the new Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) terminal and the construction of the Uganda-Kenya crude oil pipeline.

“We therefore call on the President to make public the entire content of the trade agreement signed with Uganda for scrutiny on how the Kenyan workers, farmers and tax payers stand to benefit. The government should equally make public all similar deals signed with other countries. We have reason to suspect that personal business interests are colliding with official duty to override propriety and accountability on matters of bilateral trade. We are losing faith that Jubilee regime is and has been negotiating bilateral deals in the best interest of Kenyans.”

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