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Forget change in Miraa ban: UK

12 June 2014, 12:03

Nairobi - The United Kingdom UK has stated that it will not change its stance on the Miraa ban set to be imposed from the end of June, its Kenyan embassy has confirmed.

The ban will take effect from June 24, 2014 and has caused concern among stakeholders especially in Kenya where it is a source of lively-hood for millions.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had promised to sit down with the UK government over the ban but that bid has already suffered a setback following the latest update from the Nairobi embassy.

In a communique Thursday from the Kenyan embassy's communication department, there is no change in policy as regards the ban and Miraa as a drug and that the ban will take effect as earlier planned.

As stated by head of communications at the embassy Stephen Burns, Miraa has already been classified by the British parliament as a class C drug and there will be no turning back on that.

" The ban will remain as earlier stated, the communique read.

" It has to be on record that this decision is in no way targeted at Kenya as a country because the UK has for long looked at ways of stopping the spread and use of Miraa through its territory.

He added that the bigger issue was the UK being used as a transit point to deliver Miraa to other countries which already deem it illegal.

" That the UK is at serious risk of becoming a regional hub – with evidence already suggesting that the UK is being used as a transit hub for onward illegal Miraa trafficking to the Netherlands is a big worry, he added.

Farmers and politicians in Meru County which derives a huge chunk of its revenue from Miraa farming have protested the ban, even threatening action against British owned Meru farms.

Burns though insists that his government will reduce the economic implication by aiding other sources of income in the region.

" There will be efforts to ressucutate the economy of the region by providing aid that will be used to try build up other economic activities.

It is estimated that upto 70% of People in the Meru region derive income either directly or indirectly from Miraa, which will make the ban on the substance a massive blow to the region and its people.

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- News24

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