By Patrick Chiriba

The High Court has temporarily put on hold the government’s intention to import GMO pending the outcome of a petition by Kenya Peasants League challenging the lifting of the ban.

The injunction issued by Justice Mugure Thande also forbade the government from gazetting and distributing GMO foods, products, and materials.

“That pending hearing and determination of the application, the honourable Court issues an inductive order prohibiting the importation and distribution of the GMO crop and food,” reads the ruling.

The petition filed by Kenya Peasants League, a lobby group, is the second to be lodged against the government’s decision to allow GMOs in the country.

The group representing small-scale farmers claims the decision to lift the ban is unprocedural and unlawful.

Lawyer Paul Mwangi filed the first petition saying that the introduction of GMOs poses serious health risks.

Both petitions oppose the importation, cultivation and consumption of GMOs in the country. The government is yet to file its responses to the petitions.

GMOs were banned in 2012 by former president Mwai Kibaki. In October, the government lifted the ban on GMO crops and animal feeds, opening doors for the importation and cultivation of GMO maize.

The move evoked mixed feelings and reactions from Kenyans literally dividing the country into Pro GMO and anti GMO.