Raila: Bad maize not from port

May 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has dismissed reports that the contraband maize recovered in parts of Central Kenya was the same that was declared unsafe at the Mombasa Port.

Through his Spokesman Dennis Onyango, the premier said in a statement sent to newsrooms on Sunday that ‘he has read mischief’ in circulating media reports of contraband maize said to be on sale in parts of Central Kenya and Nairobi provinces.

“There are also subtle attempts to link this sale to and question the Prime Minister’s assurance to Kenyans last week that the bad maize is being held at the port and is not in circulation,” the statement read.

In Parliament last week and backed by numerous documents, the Premier had told MPs that the imported maize that was found to be unfit for human consumption is still being held at the port, contrary to reports that the maize was on sale in some parts of the country.

“The rumours of bad maize being sold in the market are cheap propaganda being spread by desperate politicians, who looking for something to keep them afloat,” Mr Onyango said in the statement.

In the past week, maize in South African-labelled bags were recovered in Murang’a and parts of Nairobi, raising fears that the recently imported maize could be in circulation even though it was declared unfit for consumption.

In Murang’a alone, some 60 bags of the maize packaged in 90-kilogramme bags were recovered at a warehouse where dozens of local businessmen confessed to police that they had been buying the commodity for sale.

The Prime Minister however said on Sunday that maize from the port silos only leaves there in National Cereals and Produce Board-branded bags.

The issue was first brought to light when Public Health Minister Beth Mugo demanded to know whether the maize had been destroyed.

“The idea that there is bad maize in the market, which first came from the Public Health Minister Beth Mugo, borders on recklessness and irresponsibility,” the statement from the PM’s office stated.

“It is causing unnecessary panic among wananchi and the correct facts need to go out to the people.”

He said that ‘all the institutions involved in the importation of maize, including the NCPB, Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) have confirmed that the bad maize is at the port’.



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