Court Blocks Linturi’s Plan to Import Maize from Zambia


The High Court has temporarily suspended the decision by the Kenya government to contract Zambian farmers to grow maize for exclusive exportation to Kenya

High Court Judge MugureThande issued the order stopping Agriculture Cabinet Secretary MithikaLinturi to move on with the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Kenya and Zambia to produce maize in Zambia for export to Kenya.

Justice Thande issued the orders in a petition where Farmers Party of Kenya moved to the High Court and filed a case against the government over its decision to contract Zambian farmers to carry out large scale cultivation of maize for export to Kenya.

Under the Certificate of Urgency filed on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the party avers that the decision by the government of Kenya to contract Zambian farmers was “unreasonable, irrational, and illegal and in gross violation of the Constitution of Kenya.”

“After considering the principles for grant of conservatory orders at the exparte stage, I find that the orders sought in application are merited. Accordingly, I do grant prayers 2 of the application,” ordered Justice Thande.

The judge also ordered the matter to come up for mention on May 16, 2023.

The judge’s decision came in the middle of a raging dispute after Agriculture CS Linturi in March 2023 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Zambian counterpart Mtolo Phiri for large-scale farming of maize in Zambia for export to Kenya. Linturi revealed that the development was part of the government’s long-term plans to curb food insecurity in the country.

Through Lawyer Kamau Advocates, Farmers Party, led by IrunguNyakeraargues that the decision where the two governments are supposed to enter into a contractual agreement where Zambia farmers would grow maize solely for export to Kenya is tantamount to admission of dereliction of duty by CS Linturi and by extension the government of the Republic of Kenya to support and provide enabling infrastructure for Kenyan farmers to produce food locally.

The petition names Attorney General of Kenya Justin Muturi and CS Linturi as first and second respondents respectively.

Farmers Party, which is a member of the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition in the petition further avers that it is illogical for the government to contract the Republic of Zambia to do maize farming for export to Kenya, in lieu of supporting the local farmers to produce qualitatively and quantitatively as Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy.

Principally, the petition raises important matters of public interest touching on ordinary farmers of the republic of Kenya and therefore by implication touching on the economy of the country.

Farmers Party, through the petitioner argues that the decision will prejudice the interests of farmers in Kenya as well as the economy of Kenya.

The party which has been on the frontline agitating for the interest farmers in the country argues in the petitioner that it is illogical for the Kenya government to engage the Republic of Zambia to produce Maize for Kenya whilst Zambia is struggling with a similar challenge and in fact importing maize to satisfy the demands of its citizenry.

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