Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said that the government will eradicate corrupt cartels in the agriculture subsector, as he promised reforms that will enable Kenyans to attain economic prosperity.
The DP said that the intended reforms will be rolled out in January next year targeting to revive the coffee, tea, and dairy industries.
He noted that reforms by the former government failed to bear fruit because those entrusted with the job of cleaning up the sector were working in cahoots with the cartels to exploit farmers.
“Why it has been impossible to rein in and deal with cartels in tea, coffee, and dairy sectors is because the people entrusted to reform the sectors were conflicted and had vested interests. We will deal with the cartels and ensure the reforms succeed,” said the DP as he asked lawmakers to support the move.
He spoke on Thursday during the funeral service of former NEW-KCC chairman and Mathira MP Eliud Matu Wamae, at Giaikabei village in Mathira, Nyeri County.
The Deputy President was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary for Lands Zachary Mwangi Njeru, Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga, Mathira MP Erick Wamumbi, Nyeri senator Wahome Mwangi, Nyeri deputy governor David Warui and Laikipia Deputy Governor Reuben Kamuri.
Other leaders present were former Cabinet Minister of State for Provincial Administration and National Security Chris Murungaru, Nyeri County Assembly Speaker Gichuhi Mwangi, and religious leaders led by retired Catholic Archbishop for Nyeri Archdiocese Peter Kairu.
The DP said the reform of the agriculture sector, which has been riddled with a myriad of challenges, previously failed because of the unwillingness of those who were given the responsibility to spearhead reform.
“Farmers are yet to benefit and most of them are nursing medical conditions such as arthritis. Others have been servicing unending loans. Cartels have oppressed farmers for a long time and they need to be rescued,” said the DP.
He also conveyed President William Ruto’s condolence message to Wamae’s family.
Wamae, who alongside former President the late Mwai Kibaki founded the Democratic Party, served as Mathira MP for three terms (1983-1987, 1992-1997, and 1997-2002).
The leaders eulogised Wamae, who died aged 85, as an industrious businessman and a leader who transformed the community and the country.
Mr. Kahiga, who is also the chairman of the Central Region Economic Bloc, said Wamae was an astute entrepreneur worth emulating.
The DP also eulogised Wamae as a hero, who participated greatly in the country’s development and economic growth.
“As Executive Director of Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) in the 1970s, he oversaw the transformation of entrepreneurship from the white colonialists to indigenous Kenyans. He helped Africans get into entrepreneurship, many becoming captains of the business industry,” said Mr. Gachagua.
He added that Wamae left a mark in schools and churches in Mathira.
The DP said Wamae will also be remembered for reviving the State-owned Kenya Creameries Cooperative (KCC) and renaming it as New KCC.
“He used his title deed to secure a loan that was used in reviving KCC. He found it dilapidated but he revived it and it was able to stand again,” said Mr. Gachagua.
“He did not only meet our expectations but surpassed our expectations. He rejected the overtures of having the NEW-KCC bought by a private investor. Were it not for him, the New-KCC would have folded,” said Mr. Gachagua.