The Environment Court has issued a ruling in favour of the Kenyan government in a case that contested the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the nation. The case, filed by the Kenya Peasants League on behalf of peasant farmers, was officially dismissed following the decision by Justice Oscar Angote.
Justice Angote’s verdict, delivered on Thursday, cited a lack of substantiated evidence demonstrating that GMOs pose harm to the populace. The court indicated that sufficient public participation had been conducted, as evidenced by a session at the KICC and a gazette notice.
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The court noted that the petitioner had made premature claims regarding the cultivation, importation, and exportation of GMO maize without an appropriate license, as no evidence was furnished to support these assertions.
Justice Angote elaborated, “The petitioner has not provided any evidence to the court that demonstrates that the fourth respondent is currently involved in food cultivation, processing, importation, or exportation.”
The court underlined that the petitioner had failed to challenge the existing legal framework regulating GMOs, both on the international and domestic fronts. Furthermore, the evidence presented during the proceedings illustrated that Kenya possesses a well-established regulatory framework for GMOs.
“The evidence before me establishes that the country has established a robust framework with intrinsic structures that must be satisfied before the use of GMOs is considered,” highlighted Justice Angote.
“The framework has been established to evaluate GMO food products for human consumption. The evidence presented to the court indicates that the international biosafety authority possesses the capability to assess food products.”
The court also emphasized that Kenya maintains multiple institutions dedicated to addressing the GMO matter comprehensively, making it improbable that these entities would conspire to jeopardize the population.
“This court has not been presented with any evidence indicating that the respondents and institutions violated the laws and regulations governing GMO foods, especially concerning the approval of maize cultivation, importation, and exportation,” emphasized Justice Angote.
Among the petitioner’s claims were allegations that GMO products posed health risks to Kenyans, particularly those with limited incomes. Additionally, the petitioner argued that the government had lifted the GMO ban without adhering to the necessary public participation procedures outlined in the Constitution.
Notably, GMOs were banned in Kenya in 2012, and this ban remained in place throughout President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, following the initial ban enacted during President Mwai Kibaki’s tenure.