KENYA – The Privatisation Commission Tuesday said the High Court’s decision last week dismissing several cases seeking to stop the process had set the stage for the conclusion of the protracted process.
“We had started the expressions of interest in 2015, but the now-defunct Transition Authority obtained a stay order on the process and we had to stop until the matter was determined by the court,” said the commission’s chief executive, Jacqueline Muindi, at a press briefing in Nairobi.
The case was withdrawn but four other suits were lodged almost immediately, seeking to enjoin the counties of Bungoma, Migori, the Council of Governors, and the National Land Commission.
“Some of the issues that were in contention included the fate of the ancestral land where the sugar factories are located.
It was agreed that the land should remain with the community, as per the provisions of the Constitution,” said Ms Muindi.
Kenya has for the past 15 years sought to privatise Chemelil, Miwani, Muhoroni, Nzoia, and Sony Sugar factories in a bid to revive the sugar sector, which has in the past contributed immensely to the economies of several regions in Nyanza and western Kenya.
The issue has now been made even more urgent as the safeguards provided by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa on sugar exports to Kenya lapse.
Kenya’s sugar production has remained stagnant, with the country hard-pressed to meet the demand of 900,000 tonnes each year against a local supply of just 300,000 tonnes.