Lusaka: This is how I will end corruption in coffee sector

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka has urged an end to cash transactions in coffee cooperative societies, citing concerns about fictitious and dubious dealings.

Speaking at Musese coffee mill in Chwele, Lusaka recalled a recent incident where Nakoyonzo coffee factory lost MCAs25 million shillings after officials withdrew cash that was subsequently stolen.

“Up to date, the farmers who delivered their coffee have never been paid,” Lusaka lamented, suggesting the theft was an “inside game feigned in a robbery.”

To prevent such occurrences, the governor proposes that coffee proceeds be directly deposited into farmers’ bank accounts or Mpesa mobile money accounts. He believes this shift will eliminate opportunities for corruption, which he sees as a root cause of the protracted infighting among society officials.

“Everyone is fighting to get corrupt money,” Lusaka remarked.

Bungoma ranks among the top six coffee-producing counties in Kenya, and Lusaka envisions utilizing this potential for economic empowerment. He emphasized that the current leadership squabbles stem from a “thirst to steal” and highlighted the county’s significant coffee production, stating, “I know we grow other crops here for food, but we want to assure you that with coffee, we can bid poverty goodbye.”

Lusaka expressed his conviction that coffee farming, along with continued county-level support at the grassroots, can liberate locals from poverty.

His sentiments were echoed by Patrick Kiburi Kilemi, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Co-operatives and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development, StateDepartment for Cooperatives.

Kilemi reaffirmed the government’s commitment to coffee reforms that protect farmers from exploitation by middlemen, announcing, “We have already tabled a bill to address this issue.”

Notable attendees at the event included MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Majimbo Kalasinga (Kabuchai), Deputy Governor Janepher Mbatiany, and a host of MCAs.

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