Karua: Why do maize controversies follow Ruto in every government?
Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua says that the use of former Uhuru Kenyatta cabinet to approve GMO by President William Ruto was illegal.
Ms Karua, who was also Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Raila Odinga's running mate in the August General Election argues that once a President is sworn-in after election, the cabinet of Mr Kenyatta was deemed dissolved and any resolution passed by it cannot be government position.
"Once a president is inaugurated after elections the reign of the outgoing ends and outgoing cabinet dissolved by operation of law. The purported cabinet meetings with Uhuru’s cabinet after inauguration a nullity. Decision on GMO is no more than a roadside declaration and therefore illegitimate," said Ms Karua on Wednesday morning.
The decision to approve use of GMO foods was made by Cabinet on October 3, 2022, when President Ruto chaired a meeting that brought together members of the Uhuru Cabinet in State House.
The Ruto Cabinet was sworn in on October 27.
“In accordance with the recommendation of the Task Force to Review Matters Relating to Genetically Modified Foods and Food Safety, and in fidelity with the guidelines of the National Biosafety Authority on all applicable international treaties, including the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), Cabinet vacated its earlier decision of November 8, 2012, prohibiting the open cultivation of genetically modified crops and the importation of food crops and animal feeds produced through biotechnology innovations; effectively lifting the ban on genetically modified crops. By dint of the executive action open cultivation and importation of white (GMO) maize is now authorised,” read the statement of the October 3 Cabinet meeting.
Ms Karua says that the move remains irregular because, "there was no legitimate cabinet when the decision was allegedly made".
She questioned the rationale behind importing maize at a time when the local farmers are harvesting alleging that the rushed move might be another scandal in waiting citing the incident of Grand Coalition when the President was then the Minister for Agriculture.
"Maize, maize, maize. Source of daily meal for a majority of Kenyans. To wheeler dealers a get rich quick medium, imported often needlessly at the expense of the local farmer. In the grand coalition government as agriculture minister William Ruto was associated with Maize scandal," said Ms Karua.
The Narc Kenya boss also wondered why the maize consignment was docking at the Port without the government giving a Gazette notice on the guidelines on the said importation saying the move disadvantages local farmers who ought to have been protected.
"We are now set for season two of the maize scandal... ships docking with consignment of maize before rules of importation are known and when local farmers are harvesting. To add in the mix is purported cabinet approval for GMO products to enter the country," said Ms Karua.
The state plans to import 10 million bags of GMO maize in an effort to protect farmers’ earnings which will set the stage for further inflation rallies.
The KKA approving GMO products and maize importation has elicited a sharp debate in the country with MPs more so those from the country's food basket training their gun on Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.
Mr Kuria announced that the government will allow the importation of GMO maize for a period of six months.
But the MPs resolved to start the process of removing Mr Kuria before they break for Christmas.
MPs warned government agencies including the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) against clearing imports in the absence of a gazette notice.
They said they will hold to account any person who will allow offloading of the 10,000 tonnes of imported maize.
Lawmakers, mainly from the Rift Valley, want the importation of 10 million bags of GMO maize stopped to protect farmers’ earnings that will set the stage for further inflation rally.