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Kenyan Muslim leaders back UK ban on miraa

Kenyan Muslim leaders back UK ban on miraa

PHOTO | FILE Led by Garissa Branch Supkem Chairman Sheikh Abdullahi Salat, Muslim leaders in Northern Kenya supported the UK decision in locking out Miraa traders and urged the Kenyan government to follow suit.
PHOTO | FILE Led by Garissa branch Supkem Chairman Sheikh Abdullahi Salat, muslim leaders in Northern Kenya supported the UK decision in locking out miraa traders and urged the Kenyan



Sunday, August 04, 2013

The controversy surrounding the stimulant miraa ban in the United Kingdom intensified over the weekend as muslim leaders from Northern Kenya urged the government to illegalize the herb.

Led by Garissa Branch Supkem Chairman Sheikh Abdullahi Salat, muslim leaders in the region supported the UK decision in locking out miraa traders and urged the Kenya Government to follow suit.

Residents of Garissa town joined the supreme council of Kenyan Muslims (SUPKEM) and the council of imams and preachers of Kenya (CIPK) to condemn the plant claiming, it has led to unemployment and social evils in northern Kenya.

It is estimated that miraa trade in Garissa County is worth Sh4.32 billion annually. Miraa business in the county is eminent with most traders associated with this booming being women.

“Miraa is not only a drug but it causes more problem like family break ups, school drop outs and laziness among the youth” Sheikh Salat.

The written ministerial statement outlining the UK government’s decision to ban miraa was delivered in the House of Commons by Home Secretary Theresa May and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

This ban however attracted reactions from Meru Community with Meru Governor Peter Munya and leaders from the county staging a protest at British Embassy some weeks ago.

The leaders had asked the UK government to lift the ban on miraa trade. The delegation comprised of Senator Kiraitu Murungi, MPs from the region, businessmen and residents.

Munya said the UK government should rethink the position since it has serious repercussions and may strain the good relationship between Kenya and Britain.

The governor said the ban is not backed by any scientific evidence that miraa is a drug.

“If it is harmful, the World Health Organization would have banned it. Banning miraa will make those who use it to explore hard drugs,” Munya said.

Less than a month ago, The National Authority for the Campaign against Drug Abuse had launched a campaign against Khat classifying it as an abused substance and laying on its doorstep responsibility for liver damage, ulcers and a diminished sex drive.

However, the directive by the agency had forced Nyambene miraa traders and farmers to file a law suit against Nacada.

The miraa traders and farmers have challenged these findings through their lawyer Henry Kurauka and resisted that the plant in fact has medicinal value.




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