African Press International (API)

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Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo .

The alleged fraudulent sale of Miwani Sugar Mills property to a cartel of wealthy Asians businessmen and farmers at a throw away price at the alleged stage-managed public auction last year took a new dimension when the people of Kano sub-clan vowed to derail the sale at all costs.

The Jo-Kano people consist of a major Luo sub-clans, which lays claims that the land on which Miwani Sugar Company is standing on was their ancestral land and now vowed to derail the attempt at selling it to a new group of India businessmen and farmers in the area.

.The community alleged that the land was seized by force from their forefathers by the British colonialists in around 1920 and given to the white Australian pioneer sugar farmer who first established Miwani Sugar Mills in 1927 for free.

The government of Kenya now owns Miwani as the sole proprietor. But the government, the Kano community says, is free to sale the facility to a new investor, but such a deal must covered all its assets which include the sugar crushing mills, distillery and the 10,000 acres neuclus estate .

Moreover the 99 years lease has since expired, and if the government cannot find a new investor to resuscitate the facility, which is currently under the official receivership, then it could allow the community to repossess the land and distribute it to its original owners. It should revert to the sub-clans of Jo-Kano people for re-distribution to the landless people in the region.

The issue concerning the alleged secret auctioning of the 10,000 acres nucleus estate farm featured prominently during the burial of Mzee Opiko Aloo 89 years old a prominent elder who was highly respected by the entire. residents of the Kano plains in Nyando district.

The burial which was attended by thousands of mourners took place at Mzee Aloos homestead, which is located next to Onjiko Secondary School near the junction of Kisumu-Kisii and Kisumu-Kericho Road.

Mzee Walter Kitoto Adell, the chairman of Riwruok Dongo Kano Manyien (RIDOKAM) in an electrifying speech told the attentive mourners that the people of Kano plain were the blessed among members of the vast Luo community because the area is endowed with a abundance natural resources.

Mzee Adell cited the four Sugar manufacturing factories of Miwani, Kibos, Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar Company saying that all are situated on the land which belonged to Jokano people. He charged that all four industries, however, were only benefiting people from outside the Kano community in terms of employment, tendering for supplies and contracts. As well as sub=contracts.

Touching on the alleged sale of the 10,000 acres, Miwani Sugar Mills farm by alleged phantom creditor in a court case which is shrouded with questionable proceedings, Mzee Adell said that the land on which Miwani property stands on was an ancestral land of the Kano people which was given to the Company on 99 year lease at the opening of the 20th century. The lease has since expired. And it should revert to the original owners.

Anybody interested or who had legal claim on Miwani Sugar Company can only sell the factory, but not the land, which is exclusively a community property of the Kano people. He demanded that if the government which now own 100 per cent shares in Miwani is unable to sell the facility to suitable new investor then the land should revert to its former individual owners.

there is nowhere the Kano people would allow any transaction of this land, and the community has no quarrel with the government if it hands over the entire Miwani facility to a new investor who in turn will be able to offer job opportunities to the local people. This good gesture would be very much welcomed by the community.But the Kano people will not allow low and see their prime land being taken over by outsiders on fictitious claims.

The sale of Miwani sugar Company under suspicious circumstances had recently elicited legal tuzzles in court between the joint official receivers=managers, Kenya Sugar Board and a ghost creditor, who had filed a suit in court demanding that Miwani paid Ksh 28 million owed to him by the Company for consultancy services rendered by the plaintiff in 1987.

A high court judge Mr. Justice John Mwera annulled the alleged sale in an 18 pages historical judgment and gave the plaintiff 21 days to appeal.

It later emerged that the court case was filed by pseudo businessman who allegedly had acted on behalf of cartel of business tycoons and sugarcane farmers of Indian origins who had conspired and hatched a secret plan to have the 10,000 neuclus farm given to them at a silver plate The conspirators had used all the tricks in the books including bribery, gagging the local scribes, compromising court officials, lawyers and the rest to act in their favors. But the trick backfired when the High Court Judge at Kisumu made the mailstone judgment annulling the sale of estate farm and at the same time suspending the new title deed of the farm, which had already been changed in a suspici.

Also in attendance at the burial of Mzee Opiko Aloo was the former Nyanza P.C. Peter Raburu, the former commissioner of Police, Phillemon Abongo, the former Deputy Commissioner of Co-operatives, Henry Agimba, former Karachuonyo MP, Dr. Paul Adhu Awiti, a Maseno University lecturer Dr. M.O.T. Agodo, a prominent businessman and land valuer Ojowi Bengo, retired senior Administrative secretary with Kisumu municipality Mr. Adera Owiny, a former KSB director for Muhoron and a farmer/cum=businessman Samuel Bonyoi and John Ngere and the co-ordinator of RIDOKAM Justin Odiko.

The community vowed to pressure the government to sell Miwani only when the facility remain intact for the mutual benefit of all Kenyans and the local community to new and credible investors, and not to allow the company to be sold in a piece-meal at the whims of a cartel of Asian land grabbers who are hell-bend in sabotaging the government effort to off-load its shares in the facility.

The sentiments expressed by Mzee Adell were unanimously approved by the mourners. Some people in the crowd were heard shouting that if the government had no more interested then it should allow the Wananchi to go and settled on the land instead of it getting stolen by Asian land grabbers. A public meeting in which the Miwani issue will be deliberated has been called for Ahero multipurpose Centre on July 26, 2008 and all local politicians, civic leaders and MPs have been invited to attend and take a firm stand on Miwani saga.




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