One of Raila Odinga’s manifesto points is to ban mitumba importation and encourage local production of clothes and shoes.While speaking during the launch of Azimio Manifesto at Nyayo Stadium, he claimed that Kenyans buy clothes for the dead in Europe.He said policies will be put in place to encourage local industries to manufacture clothes for the citizens.
More than 90% of Kenyans buy and wear mitumba clothes.The bales are imported from Dubai, China,UK and USA by local entrepreneurs. Those in the origin countries purchase from citizens. The clothes have been worn but in good condition. The owners feel that they don’t need them anymore.
We Import about 250 Million Kgs of Second Clothes per year or what is now referred to as Mitumba against a demand of about 600M kgs per year. In the early 90s my brother Musalia Mudavadi through a Gazette Notice as the Minister of Finance allowed the importation of Mitumba Clothes. This was to enable the Owner of some Private Hotel along Mombasa Road to bring in Mitumba. The Rest is History.
At that time Siaya,Busia,Bungoma, Makueni,Kwale, Tana River, Lamu amongst Others were predominantly Cotton growing areas with at least two Cotton Ginnerys per County. Busia had Nambale and Mulwanda Ginnery.
Out of this Single Gazette Notice we immediately lost KICOMI in Kisumu,Rivatex in Eldoret, Raymond in Nakuru,Thika Mills etc that were involved in Fabric Making and as Country we became a Mitumba Importing Country.
We must thank His Excellency the President for the revitalization of Rivatex in Eldoret …but unfortunately we no longer plant alot of Cotton in Kenya, leaving Rivatex to get Cotton from Tanzania and Uganda.
EPZ factory’s involved in fabric making produce about 100m Kgs per year that is purely for the Export Market.
To Spur Growth we must immediately embrace Railas Manufacturing ideas to get us back to where we deserve to be.
Here is an opinion from a Mitumba trader:
That’s what Kenya Kwisha is Running away with…I picked different comments from different posts to show that Kenyans understood the Manifesto more than the likes of Itumbi.Paul Kagame of Rwanda banned importation of mitumba clothes to protect their textile industries and create jobs
1.Say NO to Mitumba culture, as a country we MUST buy Kenya, build Kenya to promote our local textile industry.
2. I stand with Baba Mitumba is for dead people, Kenyan people deserve dignity and not used clothes from foreigners.
We are fixing this country 💯
3. Can we be objective for once? He is for the growing of the local linen industry for us to be exporters and not importers.
4. If they want to end mitumba let them revive the cotton industries so that the new n affordable cloths can substitute mtumba…kitambo hakukuwa mtush new n affordable cloths were available.
5. They did not say they burn mitumba ,they want to invest in local textile industries ,how many people are employed by epz?? How about we have several companies like epz employing our youths ?? Let’s think outside the box not with feelings.
6. Baba is not banning the importation of mitumba but giving Kenyans an alternative to grow our cotton in large scale and produce our own clothes