A few days after word filled the air that NIS had raised concerns about how Jaswant Rai had ensared Agriculture CS Peter Munya, the CS issued a statement banning Brown sugar imports, banning of raw sugarcane imports from the neighbouring Uganda and hinting to the Public the government’s intentions to lease all its 5 sugar factories namely; Muhoroni, Chemilil, SONY, Nzoia and Miwani.
As good as it may look, It is now evident that all the three factors were crafted to favour the sugar barons led by Rai and his accomplices as follows;
- BROWN SUGAR BAN: This move was a well calculated one keeping in mind that in 2018/19 reports that Rai and other barons had imported hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes of illegal sugar into the Country were allover in the media to an extend that some of it was found stored at the Webuye Panper mills which he has so far converted it to a warehouse.
According to the Daily Nation of June 24, 2018, the barons had dumped over a billion kilograms of sugar which was enough to feed the Country for two years without growing a single cane.
The sugar in question is still with us here and even the little one that was displayed to the media by police is so far finding its way into the market.
So looking at it with the naked eye, the banning of the importation of sugar may look absolutely good but in real sense it is a well calculated move to allow the over a billion kilograms of sugar dumped into the market by Rai and group to clear from the market before more is allowed in again.
- BAN ON RAW SUGARCANE: Much as I may not support the importation of raw sugarcane for the sake of our farmer, I find it more interesting ridiculous as to why the same Rai through his subsidiary Olepito sugar should be the lead complainant in this matter and not the farmer.
I think Rai should only be worried when his competitor is poaching what belongs to him and not when a competitor resorts to importing sugarcane so for him to get worried that Busia Sugar Industries was getting it’s raw materials from the neighbouring Uganda I think he is not being honest.
The truth of the matter is that he does not want BSI and any other competitor to survive now that he is being favored by the newly gazzeted recommendations by the sugar Taskforce that saw the initial regional zoning removed to allow free market.
With free market Rai who has been allowed by Government to operate with impunity for many years now will make sure that with the muscles gotten through cheap sugar imports he will get all the raw materials to his side and with the Ban of sugarcane importation your guess is as good as mine.
- LEASING OF SUGAR FACTORIES: This is a good idea from face value but the truth of the matter is that Rai is going for the two big ones namely; Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma County and SONY sugar Company in Migori.
There is no doubt that with the government on his side Rai will get the two bringing the total sugar factories in his pocket to six namely; West Kenya Sugar in Kakamega County, Olepito Sugar in Busia County, Sukari Sugar in Homabay, Kinyara Sugar in Uganda and of course Nzoia & SONY.
So we should not be quick to forget what happened to Panpaper mills in Webuye a few months ago where the same government helped Rai to buy it at a throw away price of Ksh 900 million from an asset worth of over Ksh 2billion.
The memories of how President Uhuru Kenyatta officiated the opening of Panpaper under Rai are still fresh so are the dead hopes the people of Bungoma were given when they eventually saw smoke bellow from the factory little did we all know that it was all PR presided over by the head of state.
What is more hurting is the manner in which Rai has pocketed the who is who in government, politicians and even including leaders of various Sugar organisations leaving the farmer on their own as Rai smiles his way to monopolize the sector.