Have the ruthlessly greedy Indians extended their despicable state capture to the hide and skins industry in Kenya?
A section of stakeholders has raised concerns over the recent introduction of a punitive law seen as a well-crafted ploy to discourage locals from engaging in the lucrative trade.
A source who spoke to us on Saturday, May 28, reliably tipped us that a well-known Indian leather tycoon was among moneyed lobbyists who reportedly compromised government officials into passing the new guidelines which make it mandatory for skins and hides to be dried by hanging indoors and prohibit traditional ground drying.
This has made it extremely difficult for poor Kenyans to earn a living from selling animal hides since few of them can afford to set up required tanneries.
As things stand, a small cabal of oligarchs now controls the entire business.
Hides and skins buyers who were previously providing a livelihood to thousands of families have now scampered to neighboring countries in search of less retributive markets.
Hide my identity.
Please highlight what is going on in the cowhides industry.
A certain Muindi by the name of Alpha Rama has bribed some government officials to make it harder for the poor Kenyans to sell cowhides which are mainly sent to West Africa.
The Muhindi owns a tannery by the name of Alpha Rama and is one of the three tanneries operating because the industry collapsed countrywide.
The government has now introduced drying skins by hanging indoors instead of ground drying, which very few Kenyans can afford to do because of costly setup and lack of space.
Hides buyers have now moved to neighboring countries and Kenya is losing a lot monetarily.
The Muhindi pays very little taxes which can not surpass 20m annually, while the hides exported to west Africa can bring the country billions of shillings.
Why are we happy when we make our citizens poorer and our country poor just because some officials in the government have pocketed some money?
The industry has employed thousands of Kenyans who now can not cater to their livelihood and their families,” the source writes.
Alpharama is one of the leading leather production and export business in Kenya.
The company procures hides and skins from various countries in East Africa.