Muguka a blessing and a curse for Embu families

Muguka on sale at Muraru market in Mbeere South, Embu County. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

Muguka, a stimulant and a gazetted crop that has seen many families in Embu County earn a living has also brought challenges in the boda boda sector where many riders are said to be abusing it.

According to Jervasius Nyumbayaikothe, the Chairman Mbeerembu Cooperative Society the stimulant now referred to as green gold has been embraced by more than 100,000 farmers in Embu County.

"The stimulant also supports close to a million residents who benefit directly or indirectly from the stimulant with more than Sh60 million circulating every day in Embu County," Nyumbayaikothe said.

Stakeholders have warned that if the usage is not checked and regulated, the effects will override the benefits. Speaking during an advocacy campaign forum organised by University of Embu, the Embu West Assistant County Commissioner Beatrice Gituto said the Ministry of Interior through National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) was addressing the issue of Muguka through partnerships and positive engagements.

Ms Gituto noted that a certain percentage of boda boda accidents was linked to the abuse of Muguka and other drugs. She added that the Government had partnered with other stakeholders in the fight against drug and substance abuse noting that Muguka was the most abused substance in Embu causing fatigue which lowers concentration on the road.

Students from the University of Embu are running a programme to sensitise boda boda operators against abuse of Muguka. The campaign dubbed "Soba boda for a safe ride" is aimed at reducing the number of riders abusing the stimulant in Embu County.

A student, Solomon Mwaniki said the campaign was informed by research conducted by NACADA showing the region was greatly affected by abuse.