Raila Odinga, leader of the Azimio Coalition, has reiterated his opposition to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to alleviate Kenya’s ongoing drought.
Raila reiterated on Tuesday that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not a cure-all for Kenya’s ongoing drought and food shortage, and vowed to fight them in court and in farms across the country.
“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 GO’s 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.
According to Raila, the reintroduction of GMOs is a cruel excuse that violates Kenyans’ rights and jeopardizes national interests at the expense of foreign commercial interests.
He questioned the lifting of the ban on GMos in Kenya, especially given that they are still illegal in scientifically advanced countries such as France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
“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 added.
The former candidate for president claimed that introducing the erstwhile outlawed GMOs during this time of international unrest amounts to using Kenyans as test subjects.
“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.
According to Raila, who urged Kenyans to reject “the attempt to compromise their health, economy, and environment,” his camp will fight GMOs in court and on farms across the country.
“We are aware there already are court cases on the re-introduction of GMOs awaiting hearings,” Raila said
“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,”
The ODM leader, who is currently in India, went on to say 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.
According to Raila, in the meantime, Kenyans suffering from drought and famine require immediate assistance, not optics, politics, or blame games.