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Atwoli seeks divine intervention for besieged maize farmers

The COTU Secretary General, Francis Atwoli prays for farmers over the maize crisis during a graduation ceremony at NEEMA College in Eldoret on Saturday November 24, 2018 Photo by KNA.

The  Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), Secretary General (SG), Francis Atwoli has sought divine intervention for maize farmers in the North Rift region over the ongoing maize crisis.

Atwoli said it is unfortunate those mentioned in the maize scandal are ‘children from the county’.

“I am ashamed to even talk about the maize scandal because it is akin to children stealing from their parents,”Atwoli said.

Atwoli surprised the congregation when he went into a three minute prayer imploring God to intercede on behalf of the suffering farmers.

Speaking  on Saturday during a graduation ceremony at Neema Institute in Eldoret, Atwoli said that maize from Tran-Nzoia, Kakamega and Uasin Gishu counties was not taken by outsiders but sons and daughters of the soil who formed flimsy companies to defraud farmers.

The COTU SG speaking in parables said the maize scandal is like a child scheming to steal from the mother, as crowd cheered him on.

“God am your creation I have no power, I have no armed military, am helpless. You gave us the opportunity to elect leaders who have turned selfish and are stealing from us,” God help us.

”How the cartel managed to sneak in large quantities of maize to NCPB is still a mystery to me as a parent,” said Atwoli.

Two  weeks ago, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mwangi  Kiunjuri led a ministerial team that included Kenya Bureau of Standards, Public Health and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service officials among others to check on suitability for human consumptionof maize in NCPB stores.

The inter-ministerial team tour followed revelations that 4 million bags of maize stored in NCPB depots is unfit for human consumption.

“It is sad that cartels took advantage to import tonnes of rotten maize that they sold to NCPB at the expense of genuine farmers,” the COTU boss said.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the agriculture CS to identify and take action against the culprits, and as Kenyans we want to see those involved being prosecuted and their fictitious companies closed down.”

This follows the recent resolution by the cabinet to pay farmers Sh. 2,300 for a 90 kg bag of maize, a price that farmers have since rejected.

Across section of leaders from the region have asked farmers not to deliver their maize to NCPB until the government addresses their concerns.

The Members of Parliament, Joshua Kutuny (Cherengany), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas  Tiren (Moiben) and William Chepkut (Ainabkoi) categorically stated that the government must buy maize at Sh. 3,600 to enable farmers break even.

By  Kiptanui  Cherono

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