Sugarcane farmers from Western region have warned Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya against meddling in the leasing process of Mumias Sugar Company.
The farmers accused the governor of misadvising Mumias Sugar Receiver Manager Pongangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao to disregard the directives of the Senate.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture recommended that the process of leasing Mumias Sugar Company should start afresh and that it must be done in a fair and transparent manner.
However, Governor Oparanya, over the weekend appeared to discredit senators saying that they have no powers to direct Mr Rao how to carry out the process.
Speaking during the burial of Ms Jael Omutichia, mother to Engineer Willis Ingari in Khwisero sub-county, Mr Oparanya warned that the interference by politicians and sugar barons into the ongoing revival process of Mumias was scuttling the process of bringing the struggling miller to life.
Mr Oparanya accused Senator Cleophas Malala of spreading unfounded propaganda and malicious attacks in the leasing process which he termed as selfish.
“The collapse of Mumias Sugar Company has contributed heavily to the economic challenges and social malpractices witnessed not only in Kakamega County but the entire Western region. The revival process has been scuttled by bad politics since it went down to its knees in 2014. This time round, I will not allow crafty and unjust individuals to derail the ongoing revival process,” said Mr Oparanya.
The Senate waded into the matter after farmers, leaders and other stakeholders said the process was not done transparently. This was after Devki Group Limited chairman Narendra Raval said that he was ready and willing to direct some Sh5 billion towards the revival of the miller.
The farmers led by National Secretary General of Kenya Association of Sugar and Allied Products (Kasap) Peter Odima and Simon Wesechere from Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers warned Mr Rao to take instructions from Oparanya at his own peril.
Mr Boniface Manda urged Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to ensure proper procedures are followed in the leasing of Mumias Sugar Company.
“We are privy to the information that Governor Oparanya is asking Mumias Sugar Receiver Manager to ignore the recommendations of the Senate and bring in Devki Group Limited, we shall resist,” said Mr Manda.
Mr Manda said issues raised by farmers were valid and should be looked into.
“The biggest mistake Rao should dois to ignore the Senators,” he added. According to Mr Odima and Mr Wesechere, Governor Oparanya had nine years to revive Mumias Sugar Company but he did nothing.
Mr Odima said, “Mr Oparanya should retire and go home. As farmers, we shall resist skewed plans to force someone in the name of an investor down our throats.”
“Oparanya likes pushing things even where it is not possible, he tried that in Matungu and was shown the dust, we are now telling him again to stop meddling in the leasing process because it is going to back fire on him so badly,” said Manda.
Over the weekend, the governor said, “Senate committee wants to say that it can stop the process of leasing Mumias to continue. What powers do they have?”