The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga unveiled his manifesto on Monday, which included an outline touching on various sectors of the economy.

Among the sectors of the economy, Raila said his administration will focus on revamping the textile industry to boost traders who deal in second-hand products commonly known as mitumba.

He said the importation of mitumba products became common after liberalisation killed the local textile industry.

The former PM decried the fact that Kenyans wear imported second-hand clothes as opposed to attires sourced and manufactured locally to promote the local textile industry.

Raila said under his administration, Kenya will become a primary producer and player in the fashion and clothing industry will not have to rely on imported second-hand clothing but will trade in locally made, good quality products.

“Our people are only wearing clothes coming from outside the country which have been worn by people who are dead. We are going to go to primary production so that our people who are importing mitumba can have good products to sell here,” Raila said.

Far from the common misconception, Raila assured mtumba traders that they will not be taken out of business, but his administration will ensure they get priority to market the locally produced items within Kenya.

“I’m saying that we are not moving anybody out of business. We will ensure that those who are importing mitumba get the first hand to market goods which are going to be manufactured here in this country,” the former premier said.

Raila further explained that trading in locally manufactured goods will not only create more employment opportunities for Kenyans who will work in the processing industries but also boost the Agriculture sector which will produce the raw materials to be used for manufacturing goods.

“We will get the cotton, jinn it here, spin it here and make finished products here,” Raila said.

“We will also promote farming of other products like Blixen and cocoa. Coconut is going to Ssese Island in Uganda, we will introduce it here as a cash crop and use it to manufacture beverages here in this country.” 

Azimio coalition’s plan to have textile products produced locally resonates with the buy Kenya to build Kenya initiative, which is meant to increase competitiveness and consumption of locally produced goods and services.

The revival and modernisation of Rivatex which makes quality products such as Khanga, school uniforms, Kitenge, Flannels, military wear, 100 per cent cotton bedsheets, shirting, suiting fabrics and other products is in line with Raila's promise to Kenyans