In the Kenya – Uganda sugar deal debate, can we address the real issues?

Once again, a fierce war of words – characterized by accusations and counter accusations – has emerged with pitting the CORD Coalition against the Jubilee administration.
At the centre of the hullabaloo is a trade deal signed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni allowing the latter’s sugar exports into Kenya and as is the Kenyan norm, unnecessarily politicization of the entire deal has completely sabotaged constructive and objective debate.
In fact, every Tom Dick and Harry is now in a rush to twist the narrative to suit his/her own selfish advantage.
For CORD leader Raila Odinga, the deal is a God send. It has miraculously created a new lifeline for his endangered political career. He is now busy churning out half truths and twisted facts about the agreement thus creating more than enough content for our propaganda hungry media houses.
On the other hand, the usual clique of idle and publicity hungry waheshimiwas -from both sides of the house – are busy holding countless press conferences at Parliament buildings either opposing or supporting the deal. In it, they see a rare opportunity to score that crucial political point needed for the 2017 duel which is getting closer faster than expected.

Brief case consumer organizations and little known sugarcane farmers lobby groups are not missing out either. They are busy condemning the deal or even supporting it, depending on which side of the argument gives a bigger jackpot.
Also in the mix are third rate PR experts and goons for hire like Barrack Muluka who are busy filling pages of our local dailies with poorly researched and biased opinion articles on the deal. At times, they are going as far as unsuccessfully trying to link the deal’s debacle with imaginary failure of institutions around the presidency which they hold personal vendetta against. It is simply a time to settle old scores and probably open up new frontiers not mentioning that extra coin you make out of it all.
Bloggers and micro bloggers have not been left out either. A disinterested look at the digital space confirms how far a majority of us are from the real issues.
All these sideshows thus raise several questions.
Why are we so obsessed with non issues?
Why is Raila so personal with the deal? Is there something he is not telling us?
What is the truth about politically controlled cartels that import sugar from Brazil and then repackage it as our own?
Don’t we all know during whose tenure Mumias was brought down to its knees? (Without mentioning names since unnecessary litigation is not on my 2015 menu).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the deal for Wafula, Wanyonyi, Wamalwa and thousands other poor farmers who entirely depend on sugarcane farming for a life? Does it increase the size of ugali on the table?
Now that we have been importing rice, has this impacted negatively on our rice farmers in Mwea?

In a simpler language, can we able to put the shenanigans aside and have a sober debate where we address the real issues?


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