President Uhuru meets Western Kenya leaders
Reporter and PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday met Western Kenya leaders supporting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) where they discussed various issues among them the revival of the ailing sugar sector.
The meeting came barely a month after Luhya leaders held a series of meetings at Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) secretary general Francis Atwoli’s residence in Kajiado County and in Kakamega to chart a new political path for the vote-rich region.
The leaders who attended the meeting at Harambee House were Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia).
Also present were Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Atwoli.
The meeting locked out politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto who have expressed reservations about the BBI process which is a product of the March 9, 2018 Handshake between the President and opposition chief Raila Odinga.
According to a statement to newsrooms by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU), the meeting focussed on, among other things, the revival of the ailing sugar sector especially Mumias and Nzoia sugar companies.
“As part of the revival process, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture has already published the sugar sector regulations and is in the process of strengthening the legal framework to anchor sector reforms,” read the statement.
The sugar sector revival report generated by a presidential task force co-chaired by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Kakamega Governor Oparanya outlined several interventions, among them writing off of debts owed by the millers.
The President and the leaders also discussed the ongoing government efforts to address development projects in the region.
The Head of State assured the leaders of his government’s commitment to reviving the sugar sector by fast tracking the implementation of the sugar task force report.
The meeting comes at a time when Western leaders have been rallying for the elusive Luhya unity with the efforts spearheaded by Wamalwa and Oparanya.
During a meeting at Atwoli’s residence last month, the duo as well as the host were tasked to represent the Western region on the negotiation table with the government.
They were also given the responsibility of presenting western Kenya’s demands to the BBI for a share of the gains of the Handshake.
The leaders were also be tasked with reaching out to other communities “to form a new transformative Kenya that will be all inclusive”.
“This is just the latest attempt by the Luhya community to unite ahead of the 2022 elections,”it was resolved during the meeting,.
Meanwhile. the President handed over a brand new 52-seater bus to Nzoia Sugar Company chairman Joash Wamang’oli.
The bus will be used by Nzoia Sugar Football Club for their sporting engagements. The President also donated Sh2 million to the football team. Nzoia Football Club is sponsored the by the sugar miller.