Drama in battle for Kenya’s big sugar factory

The battle for control of Kenya’s main sugar-producing factory has taken a dramatic turn this week.

Mumias Sugar, partly owned by the government, has been in trouble since 2019 and has been seeking new investment.

It has become ugly with various tycoons, including some from Uganda, wanting to gain control of the company.

President William Ruto has now waded in with a warning to the warring parties.

During a visit to sugar-growing areas in the west earlier in the week, he accused them of exploiting farmers and consumers, using some stark words: “I have told these crooks, thieves and conmen that they have three options. Either they leave Kenya, go to jail or travel to heaven. There isn’t any other option.”

The remarks outraged human rights groups, but they seem to have prompted one of the businessmen to withdraw his interest in Mumias Sugar – as he dropped various court cases on Thursday.

This has all proved a sweetener for those enthralled by the drama of it all – nonetheless the fate of the Mumias Sugar still hangs in the balance.

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