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South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi addressing the media at Parliament. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Meru leaders have accused some counties of hindering the movement and trade in khat.

Meru leaders have accused some counties of hindering the movement and trade in khat.

Under the aegis of the Meru Parliamentary Group, the leaders told governors from other counties to treat miraa like any other cash crop.

The group's spokesperson, South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi, said tariffs on khat were unwelcome.

“We are saddened that some counties are imposing unnecessary high tariffs on the movement and trade of the commodity which lowers farmers' earnings and eventually frustrates them,” Kathuri said during the Building Bridges Initiative rally (BBI) in Meru.

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He urged opposition Chief Raila Odinga who was the chief guest at the rally to tell some Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) governors to go soft on taxing khat.

Two khat varieties – miraa grown mainly in Meru North and muguka grown mainly in lower Embu – have recently faced sanctions especially at the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.

Counties in Ukambani such as Makueni and Kitui have also imposed levies on khat.

The levies have come in form of movement permit fees and trade licences issued by the county governments, according to miraa traders and farmers lobbies.

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi said one coastal county had increased its annual licence fee for khat transporters from Sh7,000 to Sh45,000.

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“We want to urge Baba (Raila Odinga) to ask his governors at the Coast not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg for the Meru,” said Mr Linturi.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya urged county governments not to discriminate against miraa, saying it was a cash crop protected by law.

Raila, however, did not directly respond to the appeals, choosing to stick to the BBI political tune.

Meru Parliamentary Group miraa Miraa trade

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