We’ll challenge miraa ban, says Deputy President Ruto

By KATHURE MUKURU

Deputy President William Ruto has said the government has set aside Sh7 million to finance a case against the UK government’s decision to ban miraa.

Speaking at Maili Tatu in Igembe Central, Ruto said the national government will contribute Sh5 million, while Meru County government will raise Sh2 million for the cause.

Ruto said President Uhuru Kenyatta has written to the UK government seeking a review of the ban due to the threat it would pose to local farmers.

He said the two countries continue to enjoy favourable business relations, adding that miraa is not a drug and deserves to be respected just like any other produce or cash crop.

He said the government is not going to work with a person or an organisation that insists on classifying miraa as a drug, adding it is currently working towards improving its trade.

“The Isiolo airport is nearing completion and it will be easier to transport miraa directly instead of going all the way to Nairobi. The government is also facilitating issuance of title deeds, which will see farmers gain access to loans that will help them improve cultivation of the crop,” said Ruto.

Dr Frank Njenga of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Chairman denied that the organisation has classified miraa as a drug.

Njenga said as a professional psychiatrist he has never dealt with a miraa patient and that the organisation was going to support the leaders and lawyers in the case that seeks to declassify the plant as a drug.

Lands and Housing Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, who had accompanied Ruto, told residents they will speed up allocation of title deeds, which will see Tharaka Nithi and Meru residents get them by January.

Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi called for immediate solution to the miraa issue, saying that a lot of cash is at stake.

Kiraitu called on the farmers to form cooperative societies that will lead to better management.

Meru Governor Peter Munya said that in the next two weeks, the County Government will present a bill in its assembly that will ensure the vounty government takes over licensing of liquor joints, and officially take over the operations from Nacada. opportunity to respond.

The governor also said that he will meet export promotion council next week to start a programme that will expand the international miraa market.