Kenya MP stunned by maize verdict

May 15, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture John Mututho has expressed shock over Thursday’s move by Parliament to reject a report on the Sh3.6 billion maize scandal.

The Naivasha Member of Parliament (MP) told Capital News that the move was ill advised as it risked the health of Kenyans and also frustrated the war against graft.

Mr Mututho claimed that some of his colleagues rejected the report without even reading it.

“It was factual, it was rejected because it touched on one of the royal families,” complained the MP. “The brief they had was just to oppose, those individuals were protected at a risk of poisoning Kenyans.”

The MP said his colleagues from the political divide ganged up to reject the report that had linked Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his family to the maize scandal.

He said being absent from the House when the report was being discussed also meant MPs were less concerned.

“There is no reason why the Party of National Unity had only three MPs in Parliament. A lot of lobbying for them not to come had been done, and for MPs just to sit there and protect their leader is scandalous,” he said.

He said, “I cannot believe what I saw yesterday (Thursday) all I can say is enjoy your life but don’t use your position to kill others.”

Mr Mututho said MPs rejected the report on allegations that Mr Odinga was not given an opportunity to defend himself.

He said he met the Premier and informed him that he would be mentioned in the report but he declined to cooperate and only said he had documents to defend himself in Parliament.

“When I met him he did not seem interested to come on and make a defence, being a senior leader I informed him of his mention (but) he opted not to talk about it, saying he had data which he can file for defence,” he said.

Mr Mututho said the findings in the report had nothing to do with politics but the safety of the maize that is likely to have serious effects on the users.

He insisted that he saw the contaminated maize and took a sample which he brought to Parliament.

He also said Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) tested the maize and found it dangerous for human consumption.

Mr Mututho believed the maize currently in Mombasa is not the same one his committee and KEBS had inspected.

“I showed Parliament the maize sample, it had greyish colouring, that maize that he says is in Mombasa is the same quantity, but not the quality we investigated,” he said.

Close to 30 MPs on Thursday rejected the report asking Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate Mr Odinga, his family and his associates over the scam.

The MPs said the report was politically motivated and targeted at placing the premier in the false light.

Mr Odinga, in his defence, said the maize imported from South Africa was still in Mombasa and it will be destroyed in public.


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