NZOIA, KENYA: Quick action by anti-riot Police saved operations at Nzoia Sugar Company after farmers stormed the company demanding the removal of a newly posted Managing Director.
The farmers’ quick action caught the factory management by surprise demanding that Mr Nahashon Aseka, who previously was the Factory Manager at Mumias Sugar Company, leave the premises.
The farmers said they wanted the government to confirm acting Managing Director, Michael Kulundu who they praised for turning around the company in only two months he had been in office.
They accused Nzoia Sugar Company Board of Directors Chair, Joash Wamang’oli of being behind the installation of Aseka terming the move illegal because the Board of management was not aware of the decision.
“We demand that President Uhuru Kenyatta listens to us as farmers and confirm Mr Kulundu to the position as Managing Director because he has managed to offset many debts owed to us as farmers in the short period he has been in office and we will therefore not accept Aseka to land here,” said Philemon Wekesa.
The anti-riot police had to move into the factory and disperse the farmers, who together with the workers’ representatives, were mobilizing the staff to lock cane tractors from delivering cane and eventually close down the factory.
Speaking to the farmers after a hurriedly convened board meeting, Mr Wamang’oli said he had heard the pleas of the cane farmers and promised that their choice, Kulundu, will continue in acting capacity until after the General Elections.
“I am also human and I have heard your pleas for Kulundu to continue serving you and the board will come back with a decision regarding the management of this sugar factory after the General Election in August,” said Wamang’oli to cheering farmers.
Speaking after a Jubilee leaders meeting at Nzoia Sugar Guest House, Bungoma Governor, Kenneth Lusaka advised Wamang’oli to listen to the farmers and stop causing upheaval in the sugar factory.
“We have had several changes in the factory in the past 12 months that have negatively affected operations at Nzoia Sugar and we need Mr Kulundu to rectify the situation before thinking of other things that might destabilise the sugar sector,” he said.