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MPs link UK’s pre-election warning to miraa ban

11 June 2014, 16:18 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - Meru MPs have raised concern that UK’s pre-election warning of “choices have consequences” has led to the miraa ban that comes into force at the end of the month.


The legislators, led by Igembe Central MP, Kubai Kiringo blamed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government for “doing nothing” to stop the UK government from banning miraa exportation.


“We are specifically saddened by the Kenyan government for showing little interest in UK’s move to ban miraa. Money from the Meru’s miraa production helps in funding schools, hospitals, supporting children among other economic developments. The ban will render many youths jobless and reduce about a million residents into paupers,” said Kiringo.


Kiringo noted that although the region’s leaders and businesspersons have done their best by organising fundraisers to cater for their case filed abroad against the UK government’s move, the Kenyan government has not intervened despite President Kenyatta attending the London marathon in April.


“We don’t know what Meru youths will do other than resorting to crime when the UK government officially bans miraa import at the end of June through the legislation which is already in the House of Commons. It is true Jubilee government is not in good terms with Western governments; we can’t move immediately to the East where there are no established markets for our produce,” stated Kiringo.


The Igembe Central MP revealed that they mobilised the region’s miraa traders among other leaders and raised about KES 9 million which catered for their case against UK, which they lost. He also said that they require more funding to appeal at the European Court of Appeal to reverse the banning of miraa.


Igembe North MP, Joseph M'uthari stated that Meru legislators have tabled a bill in Parliament which if passed, will see the government enact the Crops to allow the sale of miraa like any other commercial crop in the Kenyan market including the supermarkets.


“We tabled the miraa bill in Parliament this week and it was supported by majority of MPs in its first reading,” said M’uthari.


However, the Igembe North MP challenged the government to negotiate with the UK government to save the Meru community from incurring losses when the miraa ban comes into effect.


M’uthari noted that Meru legislators are looking for alternative markets around the world including Africa and China.     


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