Miraa traders have taken to court 10 county governments that seized or blocked consignments headed to their areas at the start of the dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Suing through the Nyambene Miraa Trade Association (Nyamita), the traders are seeking High Court orders against Mandera, Kilifi, Isiolo, Lamu, Makueni, Wajir, Kitui, Tharaka-Nithi, Samburu and Tana River county governments, which they accuse of interfering in their business. They say miraa is recognised by the State as a cash crop, so its trade is legitimate.
“The respondents have issued directives of banning the trade, transportation and consumption of a fresh farm produce, commonly referred to as Miraa, illegally, irrationally and in excess of their powers,” said the application filed under a certificate of urgency.
The traders claim they are being denied a right to earn a living and are incurring losses as a result of the impounding, destroying and burning of consignments of miraa worth millions of shillings.
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“A county government has no powers to enforce any kind of by-law affecting the normal business or existence of a scheduled crop without consulting the national government and the stakeholders of the said crop,” the traders claim in their suit papers.
“Mandera County Government further went ahead and obtained an ex-parte court order dated March 24, 2020 at Mandera Senior Principal Magistrates Court to the effect of banning the trade, transport and consumption of miraa within Mandera County,” Nyamita claimed in the suit.
Through lawyer Kobia Michubu, they accused the counties of failing to provide proper directives and incentives in regards to harvesting and transportation of fresh farm products within their regions. They are seeking orders to prevent the impounding, detaining and destroying of any consignment of miraa in their counties.