The Jubilee government has hatched a secret high level plot to offload its multi-billion shillings shareholding in Nzoia Sugar Company to the extremely rogue group of companies – the Rai Group.
The government’s plot is signaling dangerous and deadly consequences to the ailing sugar industry in the former Western Province a majority of whose ongoing trials and tribulations were triggered and are being sustained by the Jaswant Rai’s family of billionaires.
It also signals the death of the country’s giant sugar producer Mumias Sugar Company which has been worst hit by the strangling more than five years sugarcane poaching crisis. Nzoia being an immediate neighboring Sugar Company to the Rai’s West Sugar Company or Kabras Millers in Kakamega County while Nzoia in Bungoma has not been spared the debilitating effects of the Rai’s poaching stranglehold on the region that recently saw at least three of its employees killed for protecting the company’s cane from poachers.
The other sugar company that will not be spared by the Rai’s dangerous activities is Butali Sugar Company in Kakamega County and the newly established only sugar factory or company in Busia County the Busia Sugar Industries.
Though the latter’s factory is nearing completion at Busibwabo, it is reeling from the Rai’s ruthless onslaughts especially through litigation that saw the delay in the factory’s completion. Top officials of the Jubilee government right from the Office of the President with close business ties to the Jaswant Rai family’s business empire who recently crafted, engineered and executed the sale of the giant Pan Paper Mills Company in Webuye at a throw away price – are the ones behind the plot to sell the government’s shareholding in Nzoia to the Rai billionaires.
Instead of the government waiving a mere Kshs. 600 million Pan Paper owes the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, as it recently waived more than Kshs. 4 billion coffee farmers in central Kenya owed banks, chose to sell the multi-billion shillings paper manufacturer at Kshs. 900 million to the Rai’s.
The same government conveniently forgot that Raiply Timber Company based in Eldoret and owned by the same family which was the only competitor for timber to Pan Paper played a central in totally ruthlessly and consistently sabotaging and destroying Pan Paper before buying it out.
The same deadly operations have for the last more than five years hatched and ruthlessly executed against sugar millers in Western province so far with extremely devastating consequences – particularly on Mumias Sugar which for the last four years has for the first time since its establishment been posting losses in excess of Kshs. 2 billion annually.
The critical primary reason being that the Rai family’s West Kenya Sugar Company in Kabras of Kakamega County which has never contracted sugarcane farmers to supply it with sugarcane nor involved itself in sugarcane development programmes as required by law have been executing massive poaching operations to poach sugarcane from farmers contracted to Mumias Sugar, Nzoia and Butali Sugar Companies.
These operations have since seen scores of local residents including a police officer killed in deadly skirmishes that have erupted between the poaching gangsters and those fighting to stop their operations.
Now that the Jubilee government has successfully hoodwinked not only the sugarcane farmers, the voters but also the leaders of the former Western province its move is going to consolidate the deadly stranglehold the Rai family’s group of companies is going to have on western Kenya region – particularly its only economic backbone and cash crop sugarcane.
With the Rai Group’s foothold in Nzoia Sugar Company, it means they can escalate their cane poaching operations throughout the entire region in which they will be having a monopoly in the sugar sector by using the estates of both Nzoia Sugar and Pan Paper to effectively execute their deadly operations – especially hoarding and protecting the sugarcane they will have poached.
It also means that the Rai Group will be holding more than 80 per cent of the sugar interests in the four counties of the former Western Province. Since in Bungoma alone, it was granted ten years ago license by the then Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) to construct a sugar factory in Bilibili in Bungoma County but failed to do so to date after being granted license to do so by the former KSB under highly questionable circumstances.
The Rai’s operations in Busia County are even worse than anywhere else where after consistently and systematically poaching sugarcane from farmers contracted to Mumias Sugar is now with reckless arrogance and impunity completing the illegal construction of a sugar factory at Olepito area of Tangakona on the Busia – Mumias highway.
It is illegal because even after Agriculture Food and Fisheries Authority ( AFFA) the licensing authority warned the group after it failed to apply for license and seek clearance from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and other government authorities, the Rai’s have gone ahead to construct the facility which is nearing completion. – Without contracted farmers the billionaires will simply exploit the gullible farmers and destroy sugarcane production in the entire former western province region.
The worst aspect of the whole imbroglio is the fact the Jubilee government which is supposed to protect the interests of the ordinary Kenyans is closely working in cahoots with elements that are deliberately and systematically destroying the lives of millions of Kenyans through wanton economic destruction.