Raila will not ban Mitumba Prof. Makau Mutua Clarifies

Raila will not ban Mitumba Prof. Makau Mutua Clarifies

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s campaign secretariat spokesperson Prof. Makau Mutua has dismissed reports suggesting that the former premier intends to outlaw the importing and selling of second-hand clothes should he clinch the presidency come August.

Prof. Mutua’s sentiments come after Odinga, during the launch of his manifesto on June 6, 2022, noted that the country’s textile industry was ailing due to an influx of second-hand clothing, popularly known as mitumba, within Kenya’s borders.

Despite making the announcement, neither Odinga nor his allies have been specific on how they intend to introduce reforms to the country’s textile industry, leaving Kenyans in limbo with some of the opinions that the move will likely lead to the abolishment of mitumba.

Speaking on Citizen TV’s NewsNight show on Tuesday, Prof. Mutua dismissed claims that Odinga’s administration would blatantly ban mitumba in Kenya, underscoring that the Azimio presidential candidate has not publicly pledged to do so but rather augment Kenya’s textile industry.

“No one ever talked about a ban; no one ever used that word,” said Prof. Mutua.

He went on to say that an Azimio administration will augment the local textile industry by introducing reforms in cotton farming and sheep farming to boost the manufacture and consumption of ‘Made in Kenya’ products.

“In the late 80s and 90s, our textile industry was destroyed by certain people in the political and economic class in this country. We lost our farming for cotton and other inputs that go into making textiles,” he said.

“Our view as Azimio is we will run a free market economy where business people are free to choose what they want to do and the market will then decide what to do. What we want to do is revive our textile industry.”

Such reforms, Prof. Mutua added, have proven successful in such countries as Nigeria, from where he added that Kenya can borrow a few things.

“West Africans have a thriving textile industry. Nigeria has one of the best textile industries in the continent and Kenya can learn a lot,” he stated.