• As a demonstration for his support of the mitumba hustle, the head of State said he opened a business outlet of a young woman who started the business.
• He, however, clarified that his support for the mitumba business should be for a greater end goal.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he supports the second hand clothes business as it's the starting point for many ambitious Kenyans.
As a demonstration for his support of the mitumba hustle, the head of State said he opened a boutique outlet of a young woman who started the business.
“The lady started a few months ago and she has 150 permanent and pensionable employees, she targets to employ thousands by December."
Uhuru spoke on Tuesday during a development tour of the lakeside city when he commission the first locally assembled ship, MV Uhuru II.
He, however, clarified that his support for the mitumba business should be for a greater end goal.
"I have no problem with hustling but it should be a step towards something greater,” he said.
Uhuru said he has nothing against second hand clothes but vouched for local production off garments to support Kenya's textile sector.
"We are not against mitumba business but we can do better if we produce our own,” he said.
The Mitumba business elicited heated debate in the country in recent months leading to public outbursts between Deputy president William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
During the unveiling of his manifesto on June 6, Raila ignited the debate but insinuating that second-hand clothes imported into the country were gotten from deceased persons abroad.
Raila said importation of mitumba had ‘killed’ Kenya's textile industry, something he said he would change if elected president.
His remarks sparked anger from stakeholders and traders in the mitumba sector who perceived his message to mean he would ban mitumba importation.
His main political nemesis DP Ruto turned rode on the debate and claimed that Raila had branded the mitumba industry an enterprise that deals in dead people's wares.
“Trickle down is dangerous. They branded business people's merchandise counterfeit and destroyed them. Now clothing enterprises are dealers in dead people's wares to be banned," he said
"Bottom-up, using TVET will assist these enterprises to grow from sewing, cottage to textile and leather industry," Ruto added
However, Raila assured traders in second-hand clothes that his government will not impose a ban on the used clothes should he win the August 9 elections.
He said his remarks were taken out of context.
Raila said he would rebuild the local textile industry and protect the traders by ensuring they get the first opportunity to market locally made clothes.