A section of President William Ruto’s allied Members of Parliament were reportedly forced to abandon the clamour against the importation of Genetically Modified maize.
Their efforts reportedly hit a brick wall after Ruto’s handlers moved to oppose their lamentations.
Led by Nandi Senator Charergei, the MPs who criticised Ruto’s administration’s decision to import 10 million bags of maize retreated to the backseat after reportedly receiving threats from powerful individuals.
On Friday, November 25, reports alleged that the handlers directly reached out to the key proponents of the anti-GMO campaign, castigating them for openly criticising the government.
Most of the MPs who protested the importation of maize were from the President’s Rift Valley backyard.
They included senator Samson Cherargei (Nandi) and Allan Chesang (Trans Nzoia), and MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Phyllis Bartoo (Moiben), Timothy Toroitich (Marakwet West), Julius Rutto (Kesses) and Maryanne Kitany (Aldai).
Others were Josses Lelmengit (Emgwen), Janet Sitienei (Turbo), Abraham Kirwa (Mosop) and Pokot South’s David Pkosing.
The president’s handlers reportedly claimed that noted that anti-GMO campaigns boosted the opposition’s efforts to castigate the government.
Bomet Central MP Richard Kilel refused to talk much about the issue but noted that he was open to future discussions.
“Let us discuss other things but not on maize and the GMO issue,” Kilel stated.
Cherargei was unavailable for comments, and efforts made by Kenyans.co.ke to seek his clarification were futile.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) confirmed reports that a ship ferrying 10 million bags of maize had docked at the Mombasa port.
At the same time, the lawmakers were asked to stop impeachment threats against Trade Cabinet Secretary, Moses Kuria, who plans to allow the importation of GMO maize.
“We are no longer interested in having Kuria impeached, for now, we are exploring other internal avenues to have our concerns addressed,” a Rift Valley MP who was part of the campaign stated.
Kuria clearly said the country is planning on importing duty-free GMO and non-GMO maize.
Importing GMO maize is a tough balancing act for President Ruto, who promised to lower the cost of flour while protecting local farmers.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech, on Thursday, November 24, confirmed that both the government and those opposing the importation of the maize were right.
Nelson described their actions as “competing interests” which ought to be respected.