The Director of United Declaration Raila Odinga has defended his position to force the government to import genetically modified crops (GMO) in 2011, stressing that his decision was based on limited information at the time.
In the decade-old clip, the former prime minister lashed out at critics of GMOs, accusing them of failing to embrace technological advances in the agricultural sector.
“Conservatism will kill innovation,” Raila then said, prompting an outcry from some Kenyans who accused him of double speaking.
However, in a statement issued on Monday, November 21, the former prime minister said scientific progress and research have revealed the harmful effects of GMO products.
“More than a decade later, new information has emerged, many against GMOs, as scientific research has increased, leading to his change of heart,” Raila’s communications director, Dennis Onyango, responded in the video.
“As science has progressed in the past decade, so have Odinga’s thoughts on GMOs,” Onyango added.
However, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has promised to support the administration of President William Ruto if he presents new scientific research supporting the safety of GMO products.
“Odinga will be ready to receive this new information,” added the statement.
He argued that lifting the ban on GMO products and their import is tantamount to a violation of Kenyan rights.
He also criticized President Ruto’s administration for serving foreign interests at the expense of local interests.
Raila’s comments came a few hours after the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Kenya asked Commerce Minister Moses Kuria to retract his controversial GMO remarks and apologize.