- Azimio leader Raila Odinga has been at the forefront of opposing the government’s move to lift the ban on the importation of GMO food
- However, a video of him strongly supporting GMOs during his time as a prime minister emerged, casting doubt on his credibility
- He came out to clarify, saying his current stand is informed by new information which was not there in 2011 when he supported GMO
ODM leader Raila Odinga has defended his shift in stance over importing GMO foods, a position he supported in 2011.
In a statement to the newsroom, the former prime minister said his support of GMOs a decade ago was based on the available information at the time.
Raila defends his stand on GMO
Raila said new scientific research has indicated that GMOs have major negative effects on human beings, which has informed his current stand against the government’s move to lift the ban on the importation of GMO foods.
“As science has evolved of the last decade, so has Mr. Odinga’s thinking on GMOs,” Raila said.
The Azimio leader said his new viewpoint was not a sign of doublespeak, but his ability to learn new things and be ready to accept new changes.
“Mr. Odinga’s current position on GMOs is therefore not a case of double speak but a result of willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn the essence of literacy in the 21st century,” he added.
Video of Raila supporting GMO emerges
Raila’s sentiments came after a video clip, taken in 2011 when he was the prime minister, emerged, showing how strongly he supported the importation of GMOs to deal with famine and drought.
In the clip, which went viral, Raila asked the members of parliament not to oppose the government’s plan to import GMO maize, arguing it was safe.
He said those against importing GMOs were after killing innovation in the country, adding that even advanced countries had allowed their population to consume GMO foods.
“These countries I have mentioned here are fairly civilised advanced countries. They would not allow their citizens to consume GMO food if it was harmful,” Raila said in 2011.
The ODM leader called on MPs not to create fear among Kenyans by making unverified claims against the safety of GMO maize.