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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Ruto in bid to thwart ban on importation of GMOs

Ruto moves to the court of appeal seeking to lift the ban on the importation of GMOs-Genetically Modified Maize.

The government has sought to lift a ban on the importation and distribution of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), saying the freeze by the High Court last month had paralyzed the work of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA).

In a petition to the Court of Appeal, Attorney General Justin Muturi claims that the aforementioned ruling has continued to paralyze the organization tasked with overseeing GMO regulation and research.

Further, Mr. Muturi claimed that the ruling was issued without taking the government’s side into consideration and that its extension to February 2023 was unfair and had given the government an unfair advantage.

Due to global concerns about the safety of GMOs, High Court judge Mugure Thande had granted the order, which the government now claims was done without concrete evidence.

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The Court temporarily barred the government and anybody else’s direct or indirect importation of GMO goods, foods, and materials.

The case was filed by the Kenyan Peasants League -a lobby group representing peasant farmers, Paul Mwangi, and the Biosafety Association of Kenya.

The group claims that the decision by President William Ruto-led administration to lift the ban and remove regulatory protocols imposed in 2012 is unprocedural and unlawful.

The lobby group said GMO products pose a health risk to Kenyans, particularly the poor and those with low incomes and the lifting of the ban without involving Kenyans through the public participation rule was wrong.

The NBA, however, says the government has invested in the research on the safety of GMOs and there is the likelihood that the resources will go to waste if the order remains in force.

“The orders issued were so extensive and revolutionary that they go to the very foundation of the constitution. They were beyond the matters that were before the superior court,” said Anne Wanjiku, senior principal state counsel.

The government added that it is necessary and in the greater public interest that the ban be lifted, pending the determination of the appeal.

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