In a statement released by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Cooperatives through their social media platforms on Wednesday, March 25, the government indicated that the move was meant to safeguard Kenyans’ health and also reached to promote the local textile industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move, has, however, cased intense reactions from a section of members of Parliament led by Dan Maanzo and Otiende Amollo.
Machakos MP Dan Maanzo, who sits in the National Assembly Committee on Trade, Industries and Cooperatives, told Kenyans.co.ke that while the move was welcome, he was of the opinion that the clothes should simply be disinfected when brought into the country.
A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at the Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.SIMON KIRAGUKENYANS.CO.KE
“A lot of these clothes come from Italy so the likelihood is that for a lot of people who have died, their clothes are going to be given to the poor for free ane some unscrupulous business people might take advantage of that.
“There should be a policy of disinfecting as soon as the clothes come into the country. I don’t really think a total ban helps because it means similarly you have to ban goods from China or Italy.” he stated.
Maanzo further added that he was well aware that despite the suspension, some people were going to conduct the very same importation in an underhand manner to beat the suspension.
He insisted that the buyers should be simply made to disinfect the clothes on the spot which in his opinion was the best way to curb the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the country.
“I like the move, but it is not effective. It has no mechanism of enforcement. They should encourage more disinfection than banning the items coming into the country.
This disease has been there for over a month already and I am sure that some of the clothes from other countries must have come into the country already,” he stated.
He further added that in the aspect of protecting trade, it was hard for some Kenyans to afford some of the locally-made materials and depended on Mitumba and thus with the right measures, the mitumba clothes should continue coming to the country.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo also weighed in and dismissed the decision as one in defiance of common sense.
“Not sensible, the time it takes to ship such outlives the 2-3 weeks lifespan of the virus. Besides, which local textile industries do we have when all were crippled. And, while at it, why not ban ALL Textile Imports, including Suits, Sportswear, Linen & All?! Unwise…,” Otiende Amollo added.