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Uhuru: Government will fight Miraa ban

08 June 2014, 18:03 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised Miraa farmers that the government will fight the ban by the United Kingdom on the product.

The UK has banned use and distribution of the product in its territory starting June 24 2014.

In making the decision, the UK argues that Miraa is harmful to the health of its users and has long and short term effects.

Kenya though and Miraa farmers and distributors have argued over the level of actual drug in the substance, with several efforts already put forward to persuade the UK from banning it.

But with the decision confirmed by the UK home office last week, Meru, the main production line for the substance has gone into overdrive.

Lobbying has already begun to overturn the decision with CORD leader Raila Odinga last week saying he would negotiate for a change in heart from the UK government.

And speaking in Meru Saturday, the president added his voice to the matter.

" We will definitely negotiate for a change in policy, he said.

" The understanding from their side is that it is a drug and we see it differently, so we will contest the basis of labeling Miraa a drug and then from there we can negotiate.

" There is already a case in court challenging the ban and we expect a positive return from it, he added.

The UK has insisted it is banning Miraa to save millions of people who use it from the side effects.

Meru leaders though feel that the ban is unfair and will cripple an economy heavily dependent on the growth and sale of the substance.

" We depend on it wholly and the region would suffer badly once the ban is effected so we must do all in our might to ensure it changes, Meru Governor Peter Munya said.

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