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Reprieve as key UK House teams oppose miraa ban

By MOSES NJAGIH | November 23rd 2013


The Kenyan delegation lobbying against the British government intended ban on miraa received a major boost after three Committees of Parliament backed their position.

The three powerful committees, including the Home Department section on Commonwealth, vowed to lobby the House of Commons to reject the intended move by Home Secretary Theresa May to impose a ban on the sale of the stimulant in Britain.

Members of the National Assembly’s ad-hoc committee on miraa, who had championed the mission to UK were yesterday a relieved team, even as they awaited the last meeting with the House of Common’s Committee on Delegated Legislation on Monday.

It is this Committee that will table the final report to the House, urging the UK Government against imposing the ban on miraa.

“Some members of the delegation were supposed to travel back to the country yesterday (Thursday) but they have had to change this so that we can have the final meeting with the Committee on Delegated Legislation. We are upbeat that our mission is successful,” said Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi.

Mr Linturi said the committee, led by Meru Women Representative Florence Kajuju, had met the UK Houses’ Foreign Relations Committee, the Committee on Home Affairs and the office of the Department of Commonwealth, under the Home Department. “After discussing with these authorities, they were all unanimous that the decision taken by Home Secretary was unilateral and had no legal backing or the support of any scientific proof,” said Mithika.

He said the teams they met noted the ramifications of regulating the sale of the stimulant and the intended ban would have, especially on the economies of the miraa growing counties in Kenya.

“They also expressed fears that such actions could create tension between the two countries, given that British has very many business interests in Kenya. They also noted that the move could impoverish Kenya given the loss of revenue that their Government’s decision could have,” said Linturi.

The delegation, left the country last weekend, led by Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, who however returned to the country after the initial meetings.

Others in the UK are Kajuju and MPs Kanini Kega, Kubai Kiringo, Dannita Ghati, Kathuri Murungiand Zipporah Kering. “The support we have received from the committees is overwhelming and is a major boost to stop the UK Government against taking measures on miraa that could lead to economic loss in Kenya,” said Kega.


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