The Bungoma County government should seek a strategic partner to run the Nzoia Sugar Company, instead of placing it under the leasing plan, according to Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula. The Senator has faulted the Nzoia Sugar Company leasing plan, saying the County government doesn’t have the capacity to run it but that should pave the way for a strategic partner, “They should look for someone with the technical and proven know how. The partner should also make known his interests to farmers and stakeholders,” he said, “It should be well documented and his business ties too.”
Speaking during an interview with Mumbo FM on Tuesday, Wetangula said Nzoia Sugar Company is the property of Bungoma residents and the process of leasing hasn’t followed the required steps, with input from the Privatization Commission ignored. “If you want to privatize public property, it must go through a legit process. Public participation is key, residents and farmers must be asked to share their input,” he said, “Since the Nzoia leasing plan was put forward, I haven’t seen any engagements with the Privatization Commission.”
He added that the Sugar taskforce didn’t specifically recommend the leasing of sugar factories, and that a 25+ years leasing plan is like selling a factory. The process to lease the factories-Miwani, Chemelil, Nzoia, Muhoroni, South Nyanza-is still ongoing. The Labour Court in Kisumu had issued an order suspending the process, after the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers moved to Court over unpaid workers dues, and a lack of involvement in the process. However, KUSPAW leadership said it will withdraw the case, after meeting the Lake Region Economic bloc Governors-Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Governor Anyang Nyong’o-on August 19 in Kisumu, paving the way for the process to continue.