President Yoweri Museveni has finally spoken of the sugar war country raging between Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, and former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.
The minister of East African Affairs, Hon Shem Bageine, was the first to ask Odinga and the Kenyan opposition to stop “cheap, unprincipled politics” by denouncing Kenya-Uganda’s sugar deal.
While addressing the East African Legislative Assembly at the Ugandan parliament Friday afternoon, Museveni pulled out two Ganda proverbs:
“I want to start with two proverbs and they are all from Buganda; one says, the relationship between a cow and a human being is the milk. The second proverb is also from Buganda and it say, “an old broom sweeps better than a new one.”
He explained that he has witnessed the East African Community history and what many call history, he calls current affairs.
He said when you produce a product, you need someone to buy referring to a recent “discussion” he had with President Kenyatta about exporting sugar to Kenya in exchange for dairy products.
Museveni recalled in 1986 when Ugandans were importing milk from Denmark, “You can imagine! Yet my family is of cattle keepers”.
He argued that the point of EAC integration is prosperity and to support EAC families that are producing Agricultural products.
“I am grateful to President Moi and Mwinyi, we worked together on the idea of EALA, that is why you are here as MPs.”
He continued, recalling the proverb of old brooms, “I was telling President Kenyatta that Uganda has been contributing to Kenya’s prosperity for so many years.”
“I was telling those Kenyan directors that they should be the ones supporting Uganda’s prosperity.”
He said, for example, Burundi is already a common market of EAC, because Uganda is exporting to Burundi, more than Burundi is selling to Ugandans.
“If Burundi cannot afford the EAC membership fee, it should be us, the rest of the EAC members to pay for them.”
Turning back to Kenya, he inquired: “How can your job be directing the Ugandan sugar away? Yet we have supported your prosperity for so many years.”
He added: “I was happy with Kenyatta when he told his directors to “direct and not misdirect” the Ugandan sugar.”
Turning to the instigator of the sugar war, Museveni expressed disappointment in Raila.
“I was surprised that my younger brother Raila was attacking Ugandan sugar, I should ring him and say, please don’t waste our time.”
Raila denounced Kenyatta’s deal with Museveni saying importation of sugar from Uganda would kill the local sugar industry and leave sugar cane farmers ruined.
Kenyatta responded and told Odinga to play politics but leave development issues alone.
Deputy President, William Ruto, also weighed in and accused the Cord leader of owing Mumias Sugar Company millions of shillings, telling him to concentrate on paying debts.