Top Kenya Meat Commissioners at Athi River did not receive a fact-finding Senate committee on agriculture because they were all away.
Senators Mary Seneta, Naomi Shinyonga and Njeru Ndwiga at the KMC.
The team of senators led by their chair and Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga were shocked to find empty offices and yet they claimed the managers had prior knowledge of their visit.
As the senate committee members waited for the KMC bosses to arrive, hundreds of livestock farmers who are owed hundreds of millions of shillings in non-payments for deliveries, milled around the offices.
Several metres away from the main offices a group of KMC staff were lamenting of little salary, poor working condition and massive corruption perpetuated by senior managers.
At some point the senate committee members were forced to listen to the many lamentations from farmers and the workers until late in the afternoon after the managers failed to turn up to face the ad hoc team on agriculture.
Ndwiga explained that they wanted KMC’s managing commissioner, Joseph Learamo and chairman Senteu ole Ntoross, to face the committee after it received a complaint notice from Kajiado nominated Senator Mary Seneta with specific instructions.
“As chairman of the team, I am under instruction from the Speaker to establish what intervention KMC undertaking to pay Kajiado livestock farmers their pending bills amounting to Sh490, 675,336,” Ndwiga said.
He said that in 2017/18, the Senate is aware a budget was factored in by the national government for the rehabilitation of KMC factory in Athi River and Kibarani in Mombasa.
“We want to know how much was released and what was done. Was KMC factored in the strategic food reserve fund in this year’s financial budget, and how much was set aside for the same?” asked Ndwiga.
He said KMC is state parastatal which has closed down more than once from 2006, and had been supported by the treasury to stand on its own but it is continuing to grind tax payers money without any sign of improvement.
“The Senate is of the opinion that that KMC must be privatized so that livestock farmers can be allowed to buy shares and manage their own outfit,” Ndwiga said.
A Kajiado livestock farmer, Samuel Tupet surprised the committee when he said that KMC has not paid him his Sh3.5 million dues owed since 2016.
“I sold them 200 bulls and all were slaughtered and sold to KWS and KDF immediately but I have never been paid a single penny,” he said.
Another farmer from Marsabit, Hassan Hussein, said he and another business partner are owed Sh18 million.
After failing to meet the managers, Ndwiga promised to go back to KMC again on November 20.