With former Sports CS Rashid Echesa having led protests yesterday against Malala and his camp, claims are now emerging that both camps are simply pawns in a larger chessboard. This is further compounded by ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi having tossed himself squarely in the ongoing Mumias Sugar Company crisis and the developing takeover stalemate. Allegations now abound that a section of the politicians have been compromised by one, or both, of the Indian billionaire industrialists, with rumours of high stakes lobbying now emerging.
It is alleged that the whole flurry of activities which is being displayed by politicians and the Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers Organisation is as a result of the behind the scenes struggle between Billionaire investor Jaswant Rai, and chairman of the Devki Group of companies, Narendra Raval.
The Devki Group of Companies withdrew It’s bid to lease Mumias Sugar Company on Friday following a statement by the group’s chairman Narendra Raval.
The Group had expressed interest in reviving the miller following an invitation by the receiver manager
“However, given the ongoing public interest which the matter has attracted and the call for a publicly run bidding exercise, we have found it worthwhile to take out our application,” he said, adding that the group will express interest should the exercise be conducted in consultation with all stakeholders.
On Thursday, Western Kenya sugarcane farmers and politicians asked the Ministry of Agriculture to stop the proposed takeover of Mumias Sugar Company by the steel manufacturer until due process is followed.
“I am calling on KCB to be transparent and effectively engage farmers and locals who are critical stakeholders in ensuring that the once-leading sugar miller is brought back to glory,” Mr Mudavadi said at his home in Vihiga on Wednesday.
The sugarcane stakeholders are accusing KCB Bank, which placed the factory under receivership, of unilaterally awarding the lease without following due procedure that includes asset valuation and farmers’ debt accountability.
Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers Organisation Chairman Saulo Busolo also opposed the takeover, saying that a comprehensive selection process that would capture the interest of farmers had not been realised.
“We should not gamble with the critical sector of our economy. If the cane growers are ruined, everything else will tumble down,” he said.
During last week’s proceedings in Parliament, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala termed the takeover unprocedural and sought intervention from the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries on the state of affairs of Mumias Sugar.
“I call on the committee to address the current state of the company’s assets and liabilities and reveal which entity undertook the valuation,” he said.
“Specifically, the committee should address the bidding process including who the bidders were, when the bidding took place, when the evaluation of submitted tenders was done, what criteria was used to pick the successful tenderer.”