Local setbacks pull back miraa trade
SEE ALSO :Uhuru's tax gamble that enraged Kenyans"We will definitely go to those counties and talk to governors and county assemblies and convince them of the new status of miraa and why they must support us," said Harsama who is the Secretary of Administration at the State Ministry of Agriculture. The vocal Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) cited the Sh100,000 annual levy to farm miraa proposed in the Makueni County Finance Bill, 2018. “This is pure madness. Who in their right senses taxes farming,” said Nyamita chairman Kimathi Munjuri. “This isn't the only levy on Miraa proposed by the Makueni government. They have about six others.” Miraa farmer and Igembe Central politician James Mithika said the actions by other counties were illegal undertakings against the Constitution's Article 191 that bar devolved units from passing legislation that may harm the economic well-being of each other. In March, the Kwale County Assembly passed a motion banning sale and consumption of Miraa and Muguka in the county.
SEE ALSO :Raila runs into protest against taxThe decision was reached by elders, religious leaders, youth, and women groups after weeks of lobbying with an agreement that consumers of the stimulant be barred from marrying from the area. A month later, Mombasa County Assembly Nominated Member Fatma Mote announced she was planning to table a motion seeking the ban of the sale and use of miraa and muguka in the county. Like her Kwale counterparts, she claimed that consumption of the stimulant was breaking marriages as women have raised concerns over denial of conjugal rights by “impotent” partners. Ms Mose also claimed that Muguka was so cheap that at around Sh50, it was affordable to school going vulnerable school going children putting them at the risk of dropping out of learning. Nyamita, however, said much as the trend was worrying, the purported legislation was in futility as it was against the national government legislation which was considered supreme.
SEE ALSO :Traders to pay more in new county taxes“After national legislation recognized miraa as a cash crop, no one can ban farming, trade and consumption of this crop in any part of the country,” said Munjuri. “Makueni’s retrogressive Finance Bill is particularly laughable coming from a county whose governor is considered progressive and with national political ambitions.”