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Sugarcane farmers want Nzoia MD removed over non-payment
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|Sugarcane farmers want Nzoia MD removed over non-payment by Kenyans247(1): Mon 02, November, 2020 02:27pm|
Cane farmers from Bungoma County who have been contracted by Nzoia Sugar Company have vowed to eject the firm’s managing director for failing to pay them.
Led by Kennedy Kibeti, the contracted farmers said they cannot meet their personal financial obligations after MD Michael Wanjala failed to release money owed to them.
"The company harvested our cane in June 2020 and, up to now, there is no communication on when the firm will release our cash. We are dismayed by his behaviour. Our efforts to get his comment have failed," said Mr Kibeti.
He added; "The MD is always running away from farmers despite pledging to release their cash on time. He should be kicked out.''
He insisted that they will stage demonstrations until the MD is forced out.
"We need our money. We are not happy that our cane has been harvested yet there are no returns. We need to pay school fees and meet other family obligations yet the MD doesn't want to meet us," he said.
He vowed to lead demonstrations this week until Mr Wanjala either quits or pays their dues.
His sentiments were echoed by Mrs Emily Mulongo whose cane was harvested in July and she now wants her dues deposited in her account.
"I depend on cane for survival. Let the MD and other managers work on paying us; I am going through hell," she said.
Another farmer, Chrispinus Pepela, said he is yet to be paid for his cane which was harvested in 2017.
"The government released cash for payment of farmers but when we visit banks we find our accounts empty," said Mr Pepela.
Contacted, Mr Wanjala blamed the Kenya Revenue Authority for deducting Sh20 million from the company’s account.
"I am not to blame. KRA took all the money meant for farmers’ payment. They deducted it directly from the account without any explanation. I am struggling to see how my farmers will be paid their dues; let them persevere a bit," he said.
The Nzoia MD said those planning to demonstrate against him are free to do so as picketing is allowed by the Constitution.
Mr Wanjala was appointed the Nzoia Sugar MD in July 2019.
Nzoia Sugar is among others targeted for privatisation after failing to sustain themselves, leading to huge debts.
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