Trade, Investments and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has revived efforts to ban the importation of used clothes, popularly known as mitumba.
CS Moses Kuria revives efforts to ban mitumba
Moses Kuria’s remarks are a stark contrast to sentiments held by the Kenya Kwanza earlier in 2022 at the height of election campaigns.
CS Kuria said during the Changamka Shopping Festival held at KICC on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, that the government would favour local textile manufacturers over imported mitumba.
He explained that it was possible to make locally produced clothes more affordable than used clothes imported from other countries.
“I will work with the textile industry to ensure that we make cheaper clothes available in this market, and then we will ban Mitumba when we give people an alternative.
“The price we are selling clothes to America is much lower than Mitumba so it is not a question of the price it is a question of availability,” the CS said.
Change of tune
Kuria’s remarks are a stark contrast to sentiments held by the Kenya Kwanza earlier in 2022 at the height of election campaigns.
When Azimio la Umoja Leader Raila Odinga proposed the same move before the August elections, Kuria opposed it.
Odinga said during the launch of his campaign manifesto that he would revamp the local textile industry, adding that in his opinion, mitumba were clothes worn by dead people abroad.
“Our people are only wearing mitumba, clothes that are coming outside the country, that are worn by people who are dead. We are going to go to primary production so that our people who are importing mitumba can have good products to sell here," Raila said.
After the backlash that followed, President William Ruto, who was campaigning for the presidency at the time, promised to protect mitumba traders.
“My government will establish processes and systems that will see the establishment of textile factories here in Kenya, and also ensure the growth and expansion of the mitumba trade,” Ruto said.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua also defended mitumba traders, saying that industry had given many Kenyans dignity.
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