Former Mumias Sugar Employees Asked to Move Out of Company’s Premises

By Soko Directory Team / Published February 1, 2022 | 8:32 am




KEY POINTS

The employees who live in Booker Estate in Mumias West constituency took a stand saying they will only move out after their debts have been settled.


Mumias Sugar Employees Entrance of Mumias Sugar Company.

KEY TAKEAWAYS


The former employees who have faced tough economic times over the years due to unpaid dues were dealt the blow further raising questions about the intent and the future of the sugar plant in the hands of Sarrai Group.


Former employees of Mumias Sugar have been asked to move out of the company premises to pave way for a fresh start for Sarrai Group, which in controversial bidding was awarded the assets of the sugar plant.

On Friday 29 during a rally in Mumias town, Wycliffe Oparanya, Kakamega County governor asked the ex-employees to vacate claiming that Sarrai Group should be allowed to decide who lives in the houses.

The farmers who have faced tough economic times over the years due to unpaid dues were dealt the blow further raising questions about the resumption of the sugar plant’s operations.

The employees who live in Booker Estate in Mumias West constituency took a stand saying they will only move out after their debts have been settled.

“You are indeed taking us backward in the journey of reviving of Mumias Sugar. All we need is to give the new investor ample time to run the business. What is it that you are doing in the houses when the company went down three years ago?” Oparanya said during the rally.

The governor insisted that Sarrai Group has super revival plans for Mumias Sugar plan. He noted that the investor has already renovated the crushing machines and tilled the nucleus estate farms.

The governor asked the ex-employees to trust in the process and give the new investor the support it needs rather than frustrating it through protests and court cases.

This, with all intents and purposes, is unfair and a total disregard of the livelihood of the hundreds of employees living in close to 1,500 houses belonging to the factory.

“The governor has said that we will be chased from the houses but where will we go? We are not against the investor’s plan to revive the company. We are only waiting for the company to pay us our outstanding dues so we can leave in peace,” said Vitalis Sand, a former technician for Mumias Sugar.

ALSO READ: Mumias Bidding Process a Serious Contravention of the Competition Act

Justus Ouma, also a former employee, said they had stayed in the houses as “loyal employees of Mumias” in the hope that when the firm is finally revived, they would be absorbed.

Speaking of which, is it such a coincidence that the county government is telling the employees to vacate the houses to pave way for a company that has been accused of similar incidences in Uganda?

Hoima Sugar Company, which is under Sarrai was, in August 2021 accused by residents of Rwekobe and Rwembaho villages in Kabwoya Sub-County of grabbing their land for sugarcane growing.

In a similar event, Sarai’s Kiryandongo Sugar Ltd was at the center of violation of human rights when it was sued for the planned eviction of over 10,000 families for sugar cane farming.

In light of these observations, why is the county hellbent on having the employees move out of their homes? Remember, the Kakamega County government had filed a petition to stop Tumaz & Tumaz Enterprises from contesting the award of the tender to Sarrai to revive the company.

It is no wonder that Nelson Havi, representing Tumaz $ Tumaz, asked the court to strike out the petition by the county saying it was filed in bad faith and should be dismissed with costs as it lacked substance.

“Mumias is a private company. It would amount to a quagmire if the county chooses to be part of every civilian case concerning private companies in Kakamega,” Havi told Justice William Musyoka.

By continuing to meddle in the affairs of the lease of Mumias Sugar plant, the county government of Kakamega is proving Havi right, that they have become a “busy body on Mumias leasing issue.”

If the county had part in part in the revival of Mumias Sugar, as James Orengo boldly put it while defending it, it would put the affairs of its people first, not worsening the case and telling them to vacate.

At the same time, farmers’ hopes and dreams of a revived Mumias are slowly being crushed by forces from all sides. Here, the governor is talking about super grand plans for Mumias when the decision that led to Sarrai being awarded the plant is being questioned.

The farmers are owed about 600 million shillings, a long-overdue debt. No one asks how they have been surviving or how they will survive before they have their dues paid.

Nevertheless, the point remains that these former employees and farmers, need to be paid, and they need to be paid fast. The same goes for the creditors and other parties. With Sarrai Group’s bid of 5.84 billion shillings, it will never settle the liabilities of the sugar plant. In fact, after 20 years, the monetary lease payments would only equate to approximately 27 percent of all Mumias liabilities which are over 29 billion shillings.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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