Supkem urges president to review Muguka order

Supkem deputy chairman Sheikh Modhar Khitamy. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) has urged President William Ruto to reconsider his stand on Muguka ban and engage Coast leaders in dialogue following concerns that the stimulant has adverse effects on mental health.

Led by Supkem deputy chairman Sheikh Modhar Khitamy, they also asked the President to channel the Sh500 million that he allocated for the improvement of Muguka to the Coast region to rehabilitate youth believed to have been affected by the drug.

Speaking at the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance offices in Mombasa, he warned Coast leaders against holding dialogue with Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, claiming he has vested interests in Muguka and Miraa because he comes from the region where the two crops are grown.

“The Sh500 million should be given to Coast region for the rehabilitation of youth whose mental health has been affected by Muguka and not farmers to enhance production of the crop,” he said.

He noted that experts have declared Muguka and Miraa harmful to human health leading to their ban in Europe and the Middle East and Coast counties should sustain their ban. He said Mombasa governor Abdulswamad Nassir has been consistent in fighting drug abuse and Coast leaders should support his efforts.

The cleric commended Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale for backing the ban saying that it confirmed the stimulant has strong opposition in the country and hence the government should rethink its sale.

Khitamy urged the government to stop applying double standards in dealing with harmful substances noting that while it was fighting substandard brews in Central Kenya, it should also allow the ban on consumption of the stimulants in the Coast.

Supkem Coast coordinator Hamisi Mwaguzo said the government should not politicise the ongoing war against the drug.

“President Ruto will not be doing justice to Coast people if he handles the Muguka ban as a political issue. This is a social issue and it is, therefore, unfair to force residents to chew Muguka by allowing its sale,” he argued.

He said the Coast region is staring at a bleak future due to Muguka consumption and told Kwale and Lamu county governments to ban its use instead of regulating it.

Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Taita Taveta counties have banned Muguka.

KMYA coordinator Saum Mwinyi said they have launched the mapping of households where youth have been affected by Muguka use for possible intervention.

“Muguka has affected youth and even some adults and we have embarked on sensitisation and mapping of households where youths have been affected,” she said.