September 23, 2023


Timely – Precise – Factual

Maize Importation Plan from Zambia Halted as High Court Rules Against CS Linturi

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The Kenyan High Court has temporarily halted the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Kenya and Zambia, which would have seen Zambian farmers contracted to grow maize exclusively for export to Kenya.

The decision to suspend the deal was made by High Court Judge Mugure Thande, in response to a petition filed by the Farmers Party of Kenya on Wednesday.

The party had argued that the government’s decision to contract Zambian farmers was unreasonable, irrational, illegal and in violation of the Kenyan Constitution. The judge granted the party’s application and ordered the matter to be mentioned again on May 16, 2023.

The dispute began when Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi signed the MoU with his Zambian counterpart in March 2023. Linturi had claimed that the move was part of the government’s long-term plans to address food insecurity in Kenya.

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However, the Farmers Party, a member of the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition, argued that the decision was tantamount to an admission of dereliction of duty by the government, which should be supporting and providing enabling infrastructure for Kenyan farmers to produce food locally.

The Farmers Party, through their lawyer, further argued that the decision to engage Zambia to produce maize for Kenya would prejudice the interests of Kenyan farmers and the economy.

They contended that it was illogical for the Kenyan government to contract Zambia to produce maize when Zambia itself was struggling with a similar challenge and importing maize to satisfy its own needs.

The petition named Attorney General Justin Muturi and Agriculture CS Linturi as first and second respondents respectively.

The judge’s decision to suspend the implementation of the MoU raises important matters of public interest and highlights the need for the government to prioritize the development of the local agricultural sector.

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