In the latest episode of “Ugandan sugar war” raging in Kenya, Deputy President, William Ruto, accuses Cord leader, Raila Odinga, of owing Mumias Sugar Company millions of shillings.
Ruto said politicians who owe Mumias money should be made to pay their debts while speaking in Matungu constituency, in the Mumias sugar belt.
Ruto told Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale to ask his colleagues in Cord to pay their debts because they were part of the problems that contributed to the near collapse of the giant miller.
“I saw my friend Khalwale at a press conference with some of the people who owe Mumias Sugar millions of shillings and I thought he would tell them to pay up the debts,” Ruto is quoted as saying.
“Those playing sugar politics to gain political mileage will not succeed, they are the same people who brought Mumias sugar to its knees and are now purporting to be championing its cause.”
Ruto accused Odinga of politicising the sugar deal to revive his political fortunes ahead of the 2017 General Election.
Odinga fights back
Kenya Daily Post quotes Odinga denying accusations Ruto that he owes Mumias Sugar Company money saying “those claims are false and malicious”.
Speaking after closing a two-day retreat of the ODM Parliamentary Group, Raila took a swipe at Ruto accusing him of attempting to divert the attention of Kenyans from more pertinent issues.
Raila said Ruto should first tell Kenyans his role in the issuance of licenses to sugar importation companies during his tenure as the Agriculture Minister during the Grand Coalition Government.
“The Jubilee Government has this habit of… if one unearths corruption they say you are also corrupt. Two wrongs don’t make a right; the high priest of corruption in Kenya should not divert our attention from other irrelevant issues – right now we are talking about the Uganda sugar deal,” Raila said.
Raila said the debt Ruto is linking him to was guaranteed by a bank which paid it, adding that:
“If there was a commercial debt, it is a commercial debt and there is nothing wrong with that. I want to say here without fear of contradiction that there is no debt owed.”
The sugar war
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his State visit to Uganda penned a deal with President Yoweri Museveni to barter sugar for other products.
Odinga said the sugar deal was “reckless” and would lead to the collapse of Kenyan sugar firms.
Odinga challenged Ruto to reveal who negotiated sugar deals with Uganda.