Sweet Disaster: The “Sugar Deal” At a Glance

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August 24, 2015

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Photo credit: pixabay

Photo credit: pixabay

Well, it is officially the end of a month that has been fraught with drama and political intrigue.

For those residing in Nairobi I understand the dreary weather continues to plague, for Mombasa it is always – Raha, as we say goodbye to August 2015 has been the bane of our collective existence this month, so of course, there is worse to come.

Weather experts have begun to sound the warning that an El Nino season is due to visit us in mid September, leaving us with little to look forward to other than shocking flood pictures all over social media.

This story has of course taken a back-burner to one of the most inflammatory news pieces that this month has had to offer.

Anyone that has walked past a TV at 09:00 PM this week will tell you the buzzword has been “sugar”, often preceded by “cheap”, “imported” and “Ugandan”.

A recent deal between the Kenyan and Ugandan presidents allowing export of Kenyan beef, and importing of Ugandan sugar across the border.

This of course has not gone down well, with sugar “barons” and region MPs up in arms about Kenyan products losing market in favor of the less pricey offerings from across the border.

Ironically, the Agriculture Fisheries and Food Authority has announced that Kenya’s sugar supplies are waning, predicting a shortage in the near future that will likely cause a spike in sugar prices.

The low stock has thus far been attributed to inefficiency in most of the factories Kenya relies on, with conspiracy theorists spinning their own tale of dark forces engineering an artificial shortage. Either way, the average Kenyan is likely to feel the pinch where it hurts the most- their wallets.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Of course, all this belies the shenanigans and sideshows that have plagued this story from day one.

With the “uproar” in full swing, the government stepped in with a statement denying the existence of this sugar deal allegedly reached between the two presidents involved, with Adan Mohammed adding that East Africa Community laws are already in place to allow the legal sale of Ugandan sugar across our border.

This was of course puzzling as Uganda’s president released a statement aimed at Kenya’s Raila Odinga, whose stance on the deal has been less than enthusiastic.

President Museveni was clear on the importance of trade integration between the two countries, even promising to contact Mr. Odinga himself regarding the matter.

The former Prime Minister was among the leaders arguing that the alleged sugar deal was an attempt by the ruling party to put the Western region at a disadvantage by killing the sugar industry.

Some corners of the country have pointed out that even without this deal, the sugar industry has been far from being able to sustain itself, with various collapses and government bail outs being cited as proof of incompetence, where the only victim is the average consumer.

ODM leaders have all the same called for a boycott of Brookside products in protest of the deal, following Moses Wetang’ula’s assertion that the agreement was engineered to benefit said milk company to the detriment of the Western region.

As we await the resolution and future sideshows around this deal, we leave you with another piece of questionable news that should make you fear for the future of your wallet through your electricity bill.

This has a silver lining, however, as the additional costs are due to setting up an independent body to purchase and manage energy on behalf of Kenya Power.

This new entity is necessary for the long term reduction in energy prices by reducing our dependence on diesel generators heavily relied on by Kenya Power for our national needs.

Power bills are therefore set to climb, as announced by the Kenya Power managing director, Ben Chumo in an effort to provide lower energy prices not influenced by oil prices, as is the current situation.

This is of course in accordance with the Energy Bill, which supports this outsourcing of energy production by purchasing from our East African neighbor at the most favorable prices available.

We leave you with sympathies for our collective wallets, hopes for the electricity project and faith that September will be better all the same.


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