By MOSES NJAGIH
KENYA: The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) made a hasty retreat on an earlier institutional position.
Nacada Chairman John Mututho told the ad-hoc committee that there was no strong grounds to classify miraa as a drug.
Mututho appeared to shock the committee, which is gathering information on the status of the stimulant as he urged legislators to move with speed and amend a law that classifies two substances contained in miraa as harmful.
His position is contrary to that furthered by the agency under the chairmanship of his predecessor Dr Frank Njenga, when Nacada was pushing for the classification of miraa as a drug. Mututho caught members of the committee - some of whom had accused the agency of supporting the drive to classify of the stimulant as drug - by surprise as he said miraa should also be looked at as a cash crop “instead of only looking at the possible negative effects of the crop.”
“We want the chairman to tell us whether that is his personal position or that of Nacada, because what he is now saying is very different from what the agency has been advocating for. Is he giving a cosmetic position,” posed Kieni MP Kanini Kega.
Mututho urged Parliament to either repeal or amend the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substance Act of 1994, which indicated cathine and cathinone – the two main substances found in Miraa – were harmful and qualified as drugs.