On Tuesday, November 1, Trade, Investments, and Industry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria said the government was considering banning the importation of second-hand clothes commonly known as Mitumba.
Kuria said the ban would only be effected once the Kenya Kwanza government would find an alternative to Mitumba cloths.
“We are going to ban Mitumba once we give people an alternative and we will give alternatives,” Kuria said.
However, on Wednesday, November 2, the former Gatundu South MP dismissed his earlier claims that the new regime will ban Mitumba.
The CS who was speaking during an interview on Citizen TV said he was misquoted.
He said the government will not ban the importation of secondhand clothes but would make Mitumba less competitive by augmenting Kenya’s manufacturing and textile industries.
“Kenyan exporters sell them much cheaper than what is available here under mitumba imports. I don’t need to ban mitumba, and I will not ban mitumba, but I will make mitumba not competitive,” he said.
According to Kuria, part of the alternatives include a focus will be on empowering the local textile industry to ensure the country produces its own cheap clothes.
“I will ensure people can buy clothes made in Kenya at cheaper prices. So it is up to me to ensure nobody goes for mitumba and that it dies naturally,” Kuria explained.
He said by resuscitating the local textile industry, the government would not only boost locally made items but will also create employment opportunities for over five million jobs.
During the 2022 campaigns, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga promised to ban the importation of Mitumba saying that it had killed Kenya’s textile industry.