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October 23, 2018

ODM calls for Brookside milk boycott in protest to Uganda sugar deal

Workers prepare milk for sale at Brookside's cooling plant in Maragua in April. Photo/FILE
Workers prepare milk for sale at Brookside's cooling plant in Maragua in April. Photo/FILE

The ODM has asked the public to boycott Brookside Dairy milk products in protest to the Kenya-Uganda sugar deal.

This follows a claim by Cord co-principal Moses Wetang'ula on Tuesday that President Uhuru Kenyatta "mortgaged" 10 million poor Kenyans in the sugar belt to secure a market for Brookside milk.

"We call on our people to rethink their relationship with the companies in whose name our sugar sector is being killed," said ODM deputy organising secretary Florence Mutua.

"Boycott the milk that is being exported to Uganda. Let Ugandans buy it."

In a statement to newsrooms on Wednesday, Mutua said though sugar in Kenya is expensive, farmers rely on the proceeds to feed and educate their families.

"Ugandan sugar is cheap, it only feeds Uganda farmers and their children," said the Busia women's representative.

Mutua said the government has turned Kenyans into "beggars who rely on the generosity of the thieves".

"We are aware crooks have been packaging sugar from Kismayu, and elsewhere, in Mumias bags. No nation ever developed by abandoning its products," she said.

"Those thieves masquerading as philanthropists feed on our ruined economy. Their money is proceeds of sugar imported into the country by friends, business associates and relatives in government, who rely on the state for cover-up and protection."

Mutua said "the mafia" is in all levels and branches of government, and that they have captured the state and declared war on the people by ruining long-standing sources of livelihood.

"There is clear evidence that Kenya is dealing with a mafia regime in which individuals are pursuing personal interests in the name and at the expense of the nation," she said.

"That same sugar, imported by government officials, is financing al Shabaab who recently killed hundreds of university students in Garissa, most of whom were from western Kenya," she further claimed, without tabling evidence.

Mutua further accused the government of economic crimes and sabotage saying; "The same leaders have supplied their own people with poisonous fertilisers."

"In the South Rift, tea prices are at a record low. The tea bonus is no longer coming," she said.

But in 2014, most tea factories in Rift Valley received between Sh8.50 and Sh16 a kilogramme in bonus.

Mutua added that fishing was the first to be "attacked" when President Yoweri Museveni annexed Migingo island, adding that the state has not addressed the "important" issue.

"Jubilee has spent all its diplomatic energy on getting Uhuru and (Deputy President) William Ruto out of the ICC. Migingo is a huge source of fish," she said, adding that Uganda exports rose to 18,255 tonnes in 2013.

"While fisherfolk in Kenya are hanging their nets, their counterparts are smiling, with fish from our waters, because our government has turned against us."

She said the grand coalition government had prioritised the issue by initiating surveys to establish boundaries.


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