Leaders oppose former MP’s Sony Sugar appointment
3 weeks ago, 09:44
Leaders have opposed the appointment of former MP Owino Likowa to head the South Nyanza Sugar Company Board.
Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Uriri MP Mark Nyamita opposed Mr Likowa's appointment, saying he lacks the competence for his new uphill task.
Mr Obado said Mr Likowa would not help in ending woes facing the Awendo-based miller as he does not have a good grasp of the issues at play.
"Sony Sugar Company needs a chairman who understands dynamics of cane farming. I see the factory sinking into more problems," said Mr Obado. He argued that since the factory was still under the leadership of acting managing director Benard Otieno, it needs “an active and efficient board”.
Mr Likowa was appointed after the expiry of lawyer Ambrose Weda’s term.
Mr Likowa has defended his appointment, saying he is equal to task and asked his critics to give him time to deliver.
"I understand the challenges facing sugarcane farmers in this region because this is where I was born. I should be given time to deliver," he said.
The Kenya Federation of Sugarcane Farmers Secretary-General Ezra Okoth has also backed Mr Likowa.
"We plead with our leaders to stop politicising Mr Likowa's appointment by the President. All we want is for Sony Sugar Company to be saved from its financial woes," says Mr Okoth.
"Farmers are grappling with problems facing them as a result of mismanagement of the company, yet leaders from the region have chosen to politicise President Kenyatta's appointment of Mr Likowa to head the company's board," said Mr Okoth.
Uriri MP Mark Nyamita and his Awendo counterpart Walter Owino also differed over the appointment of Mr Likowa.
Mr Nyamita said the company was on the verge of collapse due to financial challenges, among others, and needed a young and innovative chairman who could resuscitate it.
"Sony Sugar Company is about to collapse due to numerous challenges, but this requires a vibrant team that can salvage it. I am not opposed to appointment of Mr Likowa but we need an energetic team that can salvage this company," said Mr Nyamita.
Mr Owino, however, said Mr Likowa should be given time to deliver.
Until February this year, Sony Sugar Company used to crush Sh6 to 7 billion worth of cane every year. However, a raw material shortage emerged, hitting the company where it previously enjoyed a monopoly.
"The prevailing circumstances have forced us to move out of our ivory tower in order to meet the high expectations of the over 15,000 farmers in the region," said Sony Acting Managing Director Bernard Otieno.
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