By CPA Boniface MUTUA, Chairman, Association of Kenyans Living in Rwanda (AKR).
Two days ago, an article was published in the Newtimes Rwanda, titled: ‘Contaminated Kenyan food products removed from shelves’. A priori the content of the article was factual. It described the cooperation between our two friendly nations. It explains that Rwanda’s Bureau of standards was acting on the advice of its Kenyan counterpart to preserve the safety of our citizens and uphold the highest standards of commodities.
‘Rwanda has banned several Kenyan-produced peanut butter and maize flour brands from its market following their recall by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) due to high levels of aflatoxins.’, it begins. The facts were correct. However the title, we fear, might have been misleading.
There are hundreds of Kenyan products of top quality on the Rwandan market. Only Five (5) maize and Seven (7) peanut products were signalled and removed from shelves.
Indeed on November 4th, the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS) had issued a communiqué listing several items that were recalled from the Kenyan market and companies manufacturing them instructed to recall the products on the market, discontinue their production and undertake corrective measures. KEBS also recalled the licenses which allowed the suspended companies to use its standardization mark.
“We didn’t have to run the tests again because we have a great collaboration with KEBS and they are a trusted institution so there was no need for further investigations. We immediately issued quarantine warrants,” the head of Rwanda’s Foods and Drugs Authorities is quoted as saying.
The Kenyan community in Rwanda is consolidated by such message of collaboration between our birth and adopted countries. The ever fast movers, Kenyans were among the first to open business in Rwanda after the genocide against the Tutsi. Through the years we have been impressed by the turnaround of this nation in just twenty five years, through which we have seen cooperation and friendship between our two nations grow stronger and broader.
This article aims to reassure the public that Kenyan products remain among the best on the Rwandan market and consistently comply with all safety standards in Rwanda.
The Kenyan Bureau of Standards will continue work with the Rwanda Bureau of stands and the Food and Drugs Authority to ensure the highest standard of products imported from Kenya – as explained by the Rwanda Foods and Drugs Authority, in the spirit of the East African Community and the African Continental Free Trade Area, of which both Rwanda and Kenya are strong champions.
CPA Boniface MUTUA, Chairman, Association of Kenyans Living in Rwanda (AKR); Director, BM & Associates, Certified Public Accountants.