7 November 2012

Kenya: Verdict Today Over Control of Busia Sugarcane Fields

THE decision on who between Mumias Sugar Company and West Kenya Company has control of cane fields in the disputed Busia zone will be known today.

Kakamega High Court judge Said Chitembwe will deliver a ruling on a suit filed by Mumias seeking to block West Kenya from harvesting cane in the zone which belongs to Mumias Sugar.

The two companies have been locked up in a legal battle over the control of the Busia zone for the last two months. Confrontation between agents of the two firms over control of the cane has resulted in destruction of property and even caused death.

Mumias obtained orders on September 11 barring West Kenya from harvesting and transporting sugar cane from the disputed region.

The orders were lifted on October 22 by Chitembwe who allowed West to harvest canes from the region with restrictions to harvesting from only independent farmers.

Mumias Sugar says that West Kenya is encroaching on its zone. But West Kenya insists that it is harvesting cane from private farmers and wants the court to define the boundaries of the Busia zone. The company accuses Mumias of creating the Busia zone for themselves.

"I will deliver the ruling on November 7 starting from mid-day because I want to read the whole ruling so that whoever is not satisfied can appeal," said Chitembwe after listening to submission by both parties on October 31.

Mumias Sugar Company wants to stop West Kenya Company from soliciting, harvesting and transporting sugar cane from the zone. Mumias also wants West Kenya blocked from running a weighbridge in Busia. Mumias calls the weighbridge an interference with its farmers.

Mumias Sugar is represented by Gregory Ombito while Nairobi lawyer Kibe Mungai, Kisumu based Raymond Olendo and Kakamega's Gabriel Fwaya represent West Kenya.

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