The Attorney General's attempt to lift the ban on the importation of genetically modified foods (GMO) has failed.
On March 31, the Court of Appeal Judges declined a plea from the Attorney General to nullify an order from High Court Judge Mugure Thande from the previous year. In confronting the 2022 High Court ruling, the AG expressed that the order was not hinged on scientific evidence and had overstepped on the freedom and rights of Kenyans who want to trade and consume GMO products.
He maintained that such a ruling had far-reaching legal, economic and food security ramifications. Thande's order triggered the Attorney General's application before the Appellate Court. The AG said that Thande ignored existing regulations and administrative frameworks concerning the importation of GMOs like the National Biosafety Authority; the Biosafety Act of 2009, and the Biosafety Regulations.
“The court takes note that this is a matter of great public interest moreso to the global uncertainties surrounding GMOs. In light of this, it is in the public interest that the court adopts the precautionary principle pending the hearing of evidence of expert witnesses on the effect of the consumption and growth of GMO products on health and on the environment. Accordingly, the court hereby extends the interim orders pending the hearing and determination of the consolidated petitions.” Thande's ruling dated 15, December 2023 read.
The Court of Appeal Justices Mohamed Warsame, Abida Ali Aroni and John Mativo have declined to suspend Thande's order and instead instructed that the intended appeal be listed on a priority basis. Last year, President William Ruto’s administration removed the decade-old ban on GMOs in a move to combat the teething problem of drought that has sprawled the country.