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New bill seeks to control miraa sale

By Philip Muasya | August 5th 2016

A bill seeking to control the sale and consumption of miraa has entered its second reading at the county assembly.

The Makueni County Khat Control and Utilisation Bill 2016 seeks to impose a fine of Sh100,000 or a jail term of one year on any person found selling or consuming the stimulant outside the stipulated hours or at undesignated areas.

"The Bill seeks to protect consumers from misleading or deceptive inducement about miraa and also to protect persons under the age of 18 from accessing the stimulant. The aim is to protect the health of consumers," said Emali Mulala MCA Cosmas Kaleli, the sponsor of the bill.

Mr Kaleli said once the bill sails through, the trade executive will be required to form a task force whose mandate will be to research and educate the public on miraa's harmful health effects as well as economic and social consequences of its use.

According to the bill, suppliers and sellers of miraa will be required to hold an operating licence which will enable them sell the commodity between 4pm and 11pm on weekdays and 2pm and 11pm on weekends and public holidays.

"The executive member will be required to designate specific places in market centres where people can consume miraa and keep data on the level of miraa use and its related health, social and economic effects," said Kaleli.

In supporting the Bill, Trade and Industries Committee Chairman and Kilungu MCA Stephen Masaku said: "This is a noble idea that will save a majority of youths from the slavery they have sunk into because of miraa."

House Minority Leader John Mwenze urged the Trade and Industry Committee to incorporate views from different players such as health experts in order to come up with a perfect bill that will address challenges raised.

Like many parts of Ukambani, Makueni County has been swamped by a cheap brand of miraa known as muguka which is grown in Mbeere, Embu County. Governor Kivutha Kibwana complained that youths in the county were wasting away and turning into crime due to unregulated consumption of muguka. He urged the President to ban it.

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