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Coast governors skip Ruto meeting on muguka to get time to consult

Kilifi governor Gideon Mung'aro answering residents' concerns during county mashinani program at Mapimo polytechnic in Magarini, Kilifi county. [Marion Kithi, Standard]

Coast governors will not meet President William Ruto on Tuesday to discuss muguka ban in the region.

The governors said they got an invitation from the president on Friday but they needed time to carry out wide consultation and reach a consensus before meeting President Ruto.

Under the umbrella of the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP), the governors said they would have to consult MCAs, MPs and senators and forge a united stand before meeting with the head of state.

Kilifi governor Gideon Mung'aro who is also JKP chairman said the president should excuse them for skipping the meeting tomorrow because they got the invite within a short deadline and pleaded for time to consult with leaders in the region.

Speaking during a JKP meeting at Sarova Whitesands on Sunday evening, Mung'aro who was flanked by some governors said they will have a meeting with senators, MPs, MCAs, civil society and religious leaders on Friday before they can meet the president.

"We got the invitation on Friday for the meeting on Tuesday and there was no time to consult local leaders and come up with a stand backed by residents. We ask the president to give us more time. We are going to have a meeting with the leaders on Friday and after that, we will be ready to meet the president. We are sorry it will not be possible to have the Tuesday meeting," he said.

He explained that President Ruto had invited only the six Coast governors for tomorrow's meeting. According to Mung'aro, the Coast leadership was opposed to the sale of muguka because of its effects on the health of the people, although it was currently being smuggled into the region.

"Currently, we stand united against the sale of muguka as Coast leaders. We oppose the sale of muguka although we are aware it is being smuggled into the region," Mung'aro noted.

Yesterday, Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir said it has been proven that five percent of the consumers are children below the age of 18 and that the stimulant has negative effects on the consumers.

He said the Coast governors were only leading the fight against muguka as representatives of the people and there was nothing personal.

"This issue has nothing to do with governors, MPs, Senators or MCAs. It is the people who are opposed to muguka because it is harmful to them and their children," he said.

Three weeks ago, Nassir, Mung'aro and Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime banned muguka in their counties.

President Ruto has since declared muguka a scheduled crop and opposed the ban imposed by the Coast governors.

He also ordered that muguka farmers get Sh500 million from public coffers to improve the crop. 

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