Moses Kuria Forced to Clarify Mitumba Ban Remarks After Backlash

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Industry, Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria on Wednesday, November 2, refuted claims that the government is planning to ban second class clothes popularly known as mitumba. 

While referring his comments regarding mitumba on Tuesday, November 1, Kuria stated that his words were taken out of context by detractors aimed at intimidating him.

Kuria who was speaking at the launch of the Tilisi ALP facility in Limuru stated that his ministry would endeavour to ensure all Kenyans are able to afford decent new clothes. 

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria addresses a meeting with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers on October 28, 2022.

“We have problems with our media here, we will continue praying for them so that they can be able to report things properly,”  he stated.   

According to Kuria, poverty and lack of access to decent clothes compel Kenyans to buy mitumba clothes. 

However, the CS has since vowed to ensure that the aforementioned challenges are addressed despite the pressure from various quarters. 

He argued that local manufacturers export clothes to the United States and other destinations at relatively cheaper costs than the prices of mitumba in Kenyan markets. 

“I want to see a Kenya whereby every Kenyan can afford decent new clothes,” remarked Kuria. 

“Nobody wears mitumba out of their will, they wear it because they don’t have enough disposable income, because they don’t have alternatives and because they don’t have jobs. ” 

On Tuesday, Kuria promised to create over five million jobs in the textile industry.

“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 to clothes to America is much lower than Mitumba so it is not a question of price it is a question of availability,” ,” he stated.

Notably, the issue of mitumba became a ball of contention in the campaigns preceding the August 9 election.

Whilst both major political formations campaigned on a promise of enhancing and supporting local industries, Orange Democratic Movement Party Leader was criticized over his remarks on second-hand clothes. 

“Our textile industry was killed through liberalization but then they brought Mitumba, it killed all our sector industries. Our people are only wearing clothes coming from outside the country that have been worn by people who are dead,” Odinga stated during the launch of Azimio manifesto on June 7.

The Kenya Kwanza brigade which supported President William Ruto’s campaigns launched scathing attack against the ODM leader in what they termed as contempt to mitumba consumers and business. 

DP Ruto's allies buy socks from a mitumba vendor in Dagoretti.

DP Ruto’s allies Wanjohi Githae and Eric Ng’eno buy socks from a mitumba vendor in Dagoretti on June 7, 2022.

Dennis Itumbi

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