Catholic Activists in Africa ask Kenya’s President to withdraw directive legalizing GMOs

Catholic activists in Africa under their umbrella association, CitizenGo Africa, are calling on the President of Kenya to withdraw “with immediate effect” his directive legalizing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the East African nation.

In their petition launched on Monday, November 28, the Catholic activists who are part of the global foundation, CitizenGo, say unlike his predecessor who retained GMO ban in Kenya, President William Samoei Ruto has been forced to appease foreign powers.

“I write this to demand that you withdraw with immediate effect your directive to have Genetically Modified Organisms lifted in Kenya,” the Catholic activists say.

They add that GMO consumption, which studies have proved to be hazardous to human consumption, “cannot be ignored.”

“These side effects include cancer, infertility on consumers, reduced immunity, antibacterial resistance and even allergies.” they say.

CitizenGo officials say the consumption of GMO foods “is an intricate and rather new phenomenon that is still under scientific study even in the most developed countries like the United States of America.”

“The United States has well-laid structures on the safety of GMOs considering the risk that they raise but there is none in Kenya yet neither is there an assurance it can be implemented,” they say.

“It is only prudent that you withdraw this directive and involve all stakeholders before considering any lifting of the ban,” the Catholic activists say, and call on people to sign the petition.

In October, Kenya lifted the 10-year ban that had been placed on the cultivation and importation of genetically modified crops, a decision that has generated debate among citizens of the East African nation.

The Catholic activists say President Ruto’s decision to lift the GMO ban is influenced by foreign nations, and explain, “The new president of Kenya, his excellency William Ruto, is now looking west for foreign aid evidently. Kenya is a developing country and one of the important decisions a president has to make is on their foreign policy.”

“Foreign policy determines who to partner with in terms of loans and foreign aid and always this has its own consequences,” they say in their attempt to explain their allegation about foreign nations’ influence.

On November 28, Archbishop Anthony Muheria of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri in Kenya termed as “distasteful and disrespectful to Kenyans” remarks, which the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Trade and Industrialization made on the legalization of GMOs foods in the country.

Archbishop Muheria was reacting to CS Moses Kuria who, on November 17, had admitted that GMOs foods can lead to loss of life.

CS Kuria said, “We have so many things that can kill us in the country. Being in this country you are a candidate for death and because there are many things competing for death in this country, there is nothing wrong with adding GMOs to that list.”

Addressing members of the press on November 21, Archbishop Muheria said that Kenyans deserve an apology from the CS for Trade and Industrialization and that the GMO topic “is a serious matter that deserves discussion, deep, sober engagement.”

“It is not a decision for us to just embrace wholesome and completely without any reservation, nor a situation where we want to reject the use or even to address the need that could be for a specific time,” the Kenyan Catholic Archbishop said.

“It is a matter of discussion, engagement and respectful, strategic engagement,” the Local Ordinary of Nyeri Diocese who doubles as the Chairman of the Commission for Social Communication of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said.

Meanwhile, a High Court in Kenya has temporarily barred the government from importing and distributing GMOs until a case filed by the Kenyan Peasants League, a social movement, is heard and determined.

High Court Judge Mugure Thande said, November 28, that in case the government has already imported GMO foods, no government entity or official should distribute them to the public until the dispute relating to its safety is determined.

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Source: ACI Africa
Vatican News Africa

Vatican News Africa

Information service for Africa

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