Kenya demonstrated commitment to the BWC by hosting representatives from 14 countries
- Speaking during the food safety workshop about the control of biological weapons, the Nacosti boss said there are fears that most food products consumed locally could occasion health challenges.
National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation director general Walter Oyawa has called for a probe into the safety of food products in the country.
Speaking during the food safety workshop about the control of biological weapons, the Nacosti boss said there are fears that most food products consumed locally could occasion health challenges.
“The question that should be at the back of everyone’s mind is, how safe is the sukuma wiki (kale) we consume? There is also concern that some of the flour brands could be containing aflatoxins, which are harmful to human health,” he said.
Outgoing Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha was present during the workshop.
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula was represented by Ugenya MP David Ochieng.
Wetangula in a speech read by David Ochieng expressed his disappointment at the slow pace of implementing the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
He cited the lack of mandatory transparency measures and a dedicated monitoring organ for the delay.
While stating that all conventions and treaties will be domesticated, the speaker cited Article 2(6) of the Constitution which states:
“Any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the law of Kenya under this Constitution,” he said.
He added that:
“It is alleged there are no specific measures set up by the BWC to verify compliance with the obligation not to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain biological agents or toxins for hostile purposes.”
He said that a review of the convention reveals that parties are not obliged to declare biological agents or toxins used in non-prohibited activities.
“Parties are not obliged to declare all laboratories engaged in research and development of substances that could be used as agents of warfare,” he said.
In line with the BWC, Prof Magoha said Kenya had joined more than 180 countries in adopting practices aimed at mitigating threats posed by biological weapons.
Besides enhancing security and vetting scientists, Kenya demonstrated commitment to the BWC by hosting representatives from 14 countries in Mombasa for the two-day workshop to come up with mechanisms to counter threats posed by biological weapons.
Kenya has adopted a multi-agency approach, by involving ministries and departments including the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, Government Chemist, National Defence University, Egerton University, Office of the President and National Biosafety Authority.
Other agencies brought on board include Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Kenya Agricultural, and Livestock Research Organization, and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service.
The workshop was organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in collaboration with Kenya’s National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI).