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Paul Mwangi's petition challenging GMO ban lift to be heard next month

Lawyer Paul Mwangi. [File, Standard]

The hearing of the petition filed by Raila Odinga’s lawyer Paul Mwangi against President William Ruto's cabinet will be on December 15, 2022.

Mwangi had filed a petition at the High Court, seeking to block the Cabinet decision on the importation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country.

The cabinet made the decision on October 3.

In the petition, Mwangi wants the lift of the ban declared unconstitutional for what he termed as ‘violation of the rights of Kenyans’.

“A declaration that the decision of the cabinet made on October 3, 2022purpotedly lifting a ban on the cultivation within and importation into the republic of Kenya of foods and animal feeds that are produced from genetically modified seeds and other organisms is unconstitutional,”

“… for derogating and threatening to derogate the following rights of the petitioner and the people of the Republic of Kenya,”

In the petition, Odinga’s advocate claimed the lift on the 10-year ban on GMOs was unconstitutional and a threat to food security in the country.

The Cabinet lifted a ban on the importation and planting of genetically modified crops and animal feeds that had been in effect since 2012.

However, Mwangi’s petition stated that in 2012, the ban on GMOs did not close the door on the use of biotechnology in Kenya but rather closed the door on the introduction of foods not tested by local regulatory agencies.

The cabinet’s decision was made following a Cabinet meeting chaired by President William Ruto.

The meeting’s objective was to address the national response to the ongoing drought situation that has affected 23 counties.

The Cabinet said it considered a wide range of proposals relating to climate change adaptation, reducing Kenya's reliance on rain-fed agriculture through increased irrigation, and the planting of diverse and drought-resistant crops.