Meru leaders dismiss Raila Odinga offer to help find new miraa markets

Meru Woman Rep Florence Kajuju said Raila was just playing politics by announcing he would help over 500, 000 miraa farmers gain markets for the crop.
CORD leader Raila Odinga has been accused of pretending to be concerned about the plight of miraa farmers.

Meru Woman Rep Florence Kajuju said Raila was just playing politics by announcing he would help over 500, 000 miraa farmers gain markets for the crop.

Speaking on Saturday in Meru, Raila told miraa growers he was looking for markets for the crop.

"The Jubilee Government pledged to help coffee, tea and miraa farmers but it has not fulfilled the promise. I am looking for markets for the crop and will come to announce them very soon," said the Opposition leader.

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But Kajuju said: "Raila is just trying to hijack the ongoing efforts to save miraa farmers, who have lost a significant portion of income after it was banned in European markets. We as Meru political leaders are the ones who petitioned the Government to intervene," said Kajuju.

 She said President Uhuru Kenyatta was in the process of forming a task force that will be expected to come up with solutions to rescue miraa farmers, who are going through a dry patch because of lost markets and income.

 "Raila should not pretend to have any solution for us, the miraa-growing community. He was in Government as the Prime Minister and never did anything to help miraa farmers. His coming to Meru will not add any value to miraa farmers and we hope nobody believes him," she added.

Meru County Assembly Agriculture Committee Chairman Chabari Kaumbuthu said they welcomed President Kenyatta's injection of Sh1 billion to resuscitate miraa growing, marketing and sale.

 "Raila is just dancing on the grave of miraa farmers. He never did anything for farmers when he was in Government and the record is there for all to see," said Mr Kaumbuthu.

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"There is something he could do to help miraa farmers, but I am sure he won't," he added.

Addressing hundreds of residents at Maili Tatu stadium in Igembe on Saturday, Raila said he was 'brought up on miraa'.

 "I have chewed miraa since I was a child. Miraa boosts alertness and is a good pastime. Miraa is not a drug," said Odinga.

Odinga was accompanied by Senator James Orengo and MPs Junet Mohamed, Milly Odhiambo, Simba Arati and Nicholas Gumbo, among others.

Raila Odingamiraa farmersFlorence Kajuju