On Monday, June 6, the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga unveiled a 10-point agenda for the country ahead of the August polls.
Among his agenda is the rival of the textile industry which he says has been killed by the importation of second-hand clothes popularly known as Mitumba.
The former prime minister regretted that people have resorted to wearing clothes coming from outside the country and probably were worn by people who are already dead.
The ODM leader, who is making his fifth attempt, at the presidency promised to ensure that people involved in the importation of Mitumba have good products to sell.
But his plan of reviving the textile industry has elicited mixed reactions from leading political formations.
Supporters of the Kenya Kwanza alliance presidential flag bearer William Ruto have defended the Mitumba sector saying it employs thousands of Kenyans.
“Mitumba employs 2 million Kenyans, mitumba pays Ksh18 billion in taxes and 91.5 percent of Kenyan households buy second-hand clothes,” renowned digital strategist Dennis Itumbi said.
On his part, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, ridiculed Raila over the sentiments, asking Kenyans to forgive him because he has never worn second-hand clothes since his childhood.
“Those bashing Raila Odinga for his comments on mitumba clothes should forgive him. This is a man who was born when his father was Vice President,” Didmus said in a Facebook post.
Westland parliamentary candidate on UDA ticket Nelson Havi said, ” Every Hustle Matters: I buy and wear Mitumba shoes without shame or apologies.”
On the other hand, Raila Odinga’s supporters have welcomed the plan to streamline the Mitumba sector saying there is no dignity in wearing Mitumba clothes.
“See those clothes that you no longer wear including? Well, wash them and some perfume and sell them to someone you know! Sometimes don’t even wash them. Just collect them and sell them to your family or friends. That’s mitumba for you. Disgusting is an understatement!” Blogger Abraham Mutai said.
Ng’endo Murugu a random Twitter user said, “Raila Odinga will ensure there are enough textile industries to create employment directly for our youths and indirectly for those selling Kenyan clothes. Mitumba imports are only creating employment for sellers & not operators in industries. Baba will sort it!”
At the same time, supporters of the ODM leader blasted the Kenya Kwanza alliance team on hypocrisy after a video surfaced where DP Ruto promised to streamline the mitumba sector.
From the video, the Kenya Kwanza alliance presidential candidate is captured saying his government will put a stop to the importation of second-hand clothes.