Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula has revealed the debts owed by sugar companies in the Western region were waived in 2012, claiming that the decision by the state to waive the debts is a political gimmick. Wetangula has said the government agreed to dispense with the debts owed by the companies-Mumias Sugar, Nzoia Sugar, Chemelil, Muhoroni, Sony-under former President Mwai Kibaki and the proposal was handled by former Finance Minister Robinson Githae. “What the government didn’t do, is to proceed with the agreement and remove the debts. Now the leaders are just playing a game of political cards with the claim the debts will be waived,” he said.
Speaking to West FM on the Crossfire show on Sunday night, Wetangula said leaders form the region must set up the right protocols to ensure the factories in the Western region, especially in Bungoma and Kakamega, coexist and benefit the residents. He said they should be careful with the manner they deal with public resources.
His sentiments come days after the Governors from five Counties in the region and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, COTU boss Francis Atwoli met President Uhuru Kenyatta at his Harambee House office to discuss development in Western. Among the key issues discussed was the revival of the sugar industries-Mumias Sugar and Nzoia Sugar Companies-and the affirmation that the debts have been waived. In a previous meeting, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya indicated that the government has waived a debt of Kshs 11 billion and Kshs 300 million for Mumias and Nzoia Sugar Companies respectively.
Further, Wetangula dispelled the idea that the sugarcane factory’s nucleus should be a separate entity from the factory, insisting that if the factories are looking for investors then the nucleus estate must remain the property of the people but remain available for the investor who comes in. “When we talk about taking the nucleus and handing it over to another person, the law on land ownership states that if someone takes the piece of land then it becomes his and he has the right under the Constitution to use the land in whichever way he wishes and plant anything,” he said.