Kenyans! please slurp your mercury-laced tea and calm down

Since imported cancer causing sugar, not fit even for pigs, were seized a few days ago laced with dangerous insoluble metals such as copper and mercury, suddenly every Kenyan from professors to laymen alike behaves like sugar experts.

  • Since imported cancer-causing sugar, not fit even for pigs, were seized a few days ago laced with dangerous insoluble metals such as copper and mercury, suddenly every Kenyan from professors to laymen alike behaves like sugar experts.
  • When cartels invaded government parastatals financed by the taxpayer and proceeded to loot it blind, Kenyans sang themselves hoarse praising them and even elected them to office.
  • The sugar industry has been on its deathbed for years thanks to harmful policies and a number of sour facts which have mixed to make a poisonous concoction that has slowly and painfully killed the Kenyan sugar industry, issues Kenyans didn’t care a hoot until now.

Since government seized imported cancer-causing sugar a few days ago not fit even for pigs as it is laced with dangerous insoluble metals such as copper and mercury, suddenly every Kenyan from professors to laymen alike behave like sugar experts.

“I am not under any illusion that we engaged in a very serious war. A war that could be means anything; it could mean even the lives of these officers and some of us,”  Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i told reporters at at the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road in Nairobi.

"Some of the impurities in the sugar can be cancerous,” Matiangi said, and vowed not to be shaken.

There is nothing as annoying as a people who choose to do nothing as a whole industry comes crumbling down and instead watch by the side sipping tea and then when nothing is left suddenly find courage to whimper about sugar and all its contents, it literally dissolves all the mercury laced sugar in my cup of tea.

It is like the police watching and waiting as a murder most foul  unfolds at their very eyes, blood sputters out, they do nothing grey matter oozes out they do nothing and only then when the victim is long dead cold do they attempt to make an arrest in the most dramatic fashion.

Here’s my beef with Kenyans and their fake anger and frustrations with toxic sugar and everything about sugar in general really.

Sugar woes in Kenya is not new, the sugar industry has been on its deathbed for years thanks to harmful policies, mismanagement, lack of government goodwill, deteriorating soil fertility, low adoption of high yielding sugarcane varieties, poor agronomic practices, land subdivision into uneconomic sizes among a host of other sour facts that have mixed to make a poisonous concoction that has slowly and painfully killed the Kenyan sugar industry, issues Kenyans didn’t care a hoot until now.

Screaming news headlines of once profitable sugar companies which used to be the envy of our peers like Mumias closing down have become all too common yet Kenyans have remained unmoved, doing what they know best, keep mum and sip tea.

What has changed now? Please slurp your mercury-laced tea and calm down.

When cartels invaded government parastatals financed by the taxpayer and proceeded to loot it blind, Kenyans sang themselves hoarse praising them and even elected them to office.

The average Kenyan would be hard-pressed to explain the average cost of producing sugar, something they consume everyday yet they know the entire salary of each player of a foreign football club.

According to a 2015 report of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Co-operatives, the average cost of producing one tonne of cane in Kenya is Sh2,250 ($22.5) while that of the region’s is as low as Sh1300 ($13) per tonne.

The average cost of producing a tonne of sugar in Kenya is Sh87,000 ($870) compared to Sh35,000 ($350), in Malawi and Sh40,00 ($400) in Zambia, Swaziland and Egypt and Sh45,000 ($450) in Sudan.

While a kilogram of sugar costs Sh60 ($0.5) in Europe, it costs as much as Sh200 ($2) in Kenya.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see then why imported contraband sugar is such a lucrative business.

Instead of questioning why sugar was so expensive, Kenyans accepted it as a norm and fork out money without a fuss.

You didn’t speak then, why blubber now? Go ahead swing that steaming mercury-laced tea cup and even tap the bottom of the cup papa, they is more where that came from.

When millions of farmers were rendered jobless, thousands of families’ slept hungry and a whole economy of a country took a hit, I didn’t see Kenyans getting concerned or becoming sugar experts. Nope! Many were busy slurping their cappuccinos.

Over six million sugarcane farmers live from hand to mouth and earn their income only to exhaust it on repayment of debts accrued during the more than 24 months of waiting to harvest the sugarcane.

In this entire saga, what is flabbergasting is why Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is still in operation That tasteless body has already gone stale and grown slimy decaying grey mold which needs to be poured down the gutter. Not even pigs should drink its contents.

As if allowing cancer causing sugar into its borders is not enough, the government wants to make the same sugar super expensive and out of reach for millions of Kenyans.

Director of Public Health Kepha Ombacho recently announced that all wholesalers and retailers must undertake laboratory tests of all their sugar consignments at their cost in a tasteless charade to ascertain the "wholesomeness" of table sugar.

Why should innocent Kenyans be punished for the incompetence of a corrupt government? Like a well-known script, businesses will of course pass the cost to consumers.

Like naive children Kenyans have swallowed the hook line and sinker in the government’s tasteless charade of  talking tough, arresting small fishes and parading a few lorries with sugar consignment that it is dealing with the menace when real ‘murderers’ are walking scott free.

For your naivety Kenyans! Please slurp your mercury-laced tea and calm down.

When it reaches a point where consumers have to second guess if the daily essential products they can’t survive without such as sugar, salt, rice or even maize is harmful or not then that society in my opinion is already rolling in deep sh**t. Like a dirty sewer it needs to be pumped out to the gutter.

The next thing Kenyans should prepare themselves to consume is maize flour mixed with chalk or something even more deadlier because going by the number of maize scandals, no sane Kenyan would dream of being a farmer, opening gateway to import adulterated maize  from I don’t know where.

As a population when we have decided to sit pretty and cheer on the government and the cartel as they do their dirty deed on us year in year out without as much as a whimper, we can as well continue slurping our mercury-laced tea and calm down.

The only silver lining in all this is that it has taken toxic sugar to begin bridging a deeply unequal society.

For once a Kenyan pauper, middle class, filthy rich and even a millennial are all slurping the same poisonous s*** and no fancy fuel guzzler, high perimeter wall, who you know in government or even ‘mbwa kali’  (fierce dog) sign can protect them from cancer causing tea.

Maybe just maybe it can corrode the tribalism, nepotism, corruption and hate from the hearts of Kenyans and AWOKE their conscience.

For now, Kenyans! Please slurp your mercury-laced tea and calm down.

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