Inside Politics

‘Apologize to Kenyans’- Raila tells CS Kuria over his remarks justifying importation of GMO maize

Sunday, November 20th, 2022 15:00 | By
Raila heads to US for leaders' summit
Azimio leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO/Courtesy

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya supremo Raila Odinga now wants Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary (CS), Moses Kuria to apologize to Kenyans for his remarks on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

While announcing that the Kenya Kwanza administration will clear the way for the importation of 10 million bags of duty-free GMO maize to mitigate the effects of hunger, the CS stated that there was no harm in bringing in GMO maize as Kenyans were, in any case, already dying from varying causes.

“We have two deliberate steps. One is that we have so many things that can kill us in this country,” he said at the Strathmore Business School during a Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises forum. “Living in this country you are a candidate for death,” he said, sending the audience into sustained laughter.

“That’s why we have deliberately decided to allow GMOs into this country,” he said. He explained that the decision to allow the importation of duty-free maize was because the country is experiencing a dire food shortage which has exposed more than four million Kenyans to hunger.

“Until we are satisfied that we have enough maize in this country, our staple food, tomorrow I am signing a gazette notice to allow for the importation of up to 10 million bags of maize, duty-free for the next six months until we achieve food security,” he said arguing that it is the cardinal responsibility as a government to ensure the country is food secure. “I know this will offend some people, from the GMO opponents and importers, but I will do this and will do it as government,” he maintained.

“Even if we will lose some votes here and there, at least we will see the Kingdom of Heaven,” Kuria continued.

Raila castigates Kuria

In a rejoinder Raila who termed the remarks as 'regrettable' stated that Kuria's comments were a mockery to the people of Kenya and subsequently stated that he should apologize.

"CS Kuria’s remarks on this matter are regrettable. To say that even without GMOs, Kenyans will die anyway is a mockery to the people of Kenya. Raila Odinga, therefore, says Kuria should apologize to the people of Kenya, "Raila stated.

The former premier further maintained that the decision to lift the ban on GMO foods by the Kenya Kwanza government was a betrayal to the country.

He also alleged that President William Ruto was working as a puppet for foreign nations to promote foreign biotechnology institutions abroad.

"We consider the decision to lift the ban on GMO foods and their importation a betrayal to our country. On this, the Ruto administration is not working for Kenya. Ruto is being a puppet, working for foreign nations and their multinationals against our interest as a nation," Raila said in a statement.

"Ruto is not working to promote Kenyan research work in Kenyan universities, colleges and institutions. He is working to promote foreign biotechnology institutions abroad," he added.

Raila further called on Ruto's administration to reverse the decision until a debate on the matter is held and the matter is addressed amicably.

"We call upon the UDA regime to immediately reverse this decision on GMO foods until Kenyans have a robust debate on the matter," Raila said.

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