Opposition leader Raila Odinga has vowed to fight the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Kenya.
The Azimio Coalition leader on Tuesday said GMOs are not a cure-all for Kenya’s ongoing drought and food shortage, and committed to fight them in court and in farms across the country.
Raila also demanded an explanation from President Ruto over the recent lifting of a ban on GMOs in Kenya.
“We demand that Ruto’s administration explains to Kenyans the rationale behind the rush to reverse the 2012 the directive that stopped the importation and open cultivation of GOs due to concerns of the health risks of GMO foods and insufficient studies on their effects on small-scale farmers and the local food markets,” the statement signed by the Azimio leader reads in part.
Raila argued that the reintroduction of GMOs is a cruel excuse that violates Kenyans’ rights and jeopardizes national interests at the expense of foreign commercial interests.
The ODM leader also noted that GMOs are illegal in many scientifically advanced countries.
“They are banned in many scientifically advanced economies like France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia. Why Kenya?” Raila posed.
Mr Odinga said he won’t allow Kenyans to be used as guinea pigs.
“We believe that introducing them into Kenya in the current state of international uncertainty is to use Kenyans as guinea pigs, which we shall not allow. Even the poor and the hungry ought to have their rights and dignity protected,” Raila said.
The former Prime Minister urged Kenyans to reject “the attempt to compromise their health, economy, and environment”.
“We are aware there already are court cases on the re-introduction of GMOs awaiting hearings.
“As we await the court verdict, we strongly urge Kenyans to reject this attempt by the Ruto administration to compromise our health, economy and environment at the altar of commerce,” Raila said.
He also stated that Kenyans deserve a clear plan for increasing access to water to improve irrigation in the unpredictable climate, improving infrastructure to facilitate market access, improving agricultural extension assistance programs, and empowering special interest groups such as youths, women, and people with disabilities to participate in agricultural production.
Kenyans suffering from drought and famine require immediate assistance, not optics, politics, or blame games, Raila added.