Coast lawmakers decline to meet Linturi on muguka ban

Coast Parliamentary Group led by their chairman, Dan Mwashako (in a stripped shirt) protests against Sale and chewing of Muguka in Coast region. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

Members of Parliament have faulted President William Ruto’s decision to allocate muguka business Sh50 million. The leaders also said they have no faith in Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi leading talks on muguka business over conflict of interest.

The MPs threatened to use violent means to stop the stimulant from entering their counties, including burning lorries ferrying the crop.

On Tuesday, the Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Danson Mwashako said they would not allow muguka into the region.

“We can’t allow the stimulant that affects our people. We can’t allow the muguka to spoil our youth. We need to stand together, and the interest of Kenya should be respected. We have agreed to work with all leaders to stop muguka from coming into the Coast region,” said Mr Mwashako. Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said the High Court in Embu has no jurisdiction to lift the ban on muguka and that they will challenge the order.

“We, as Coast region do not want muguka. The ban still stands. You can’t get an injunction from a court far away from where the ban happened. The Embu court doesn’t have jurisdiction. We have asked our lawyers to go and challenge the order,” said Mr Baya.

He added: “I will introduce a motion in Parliament to ban muguka in the country. Western and North Eastern regions have also banned the stimulant. We can’t allow one economy to destroy the Coast region and youth in other parts of the country.”

United Democratic Alliance National Vice Chairman Hassan Omar said President Ruto should scrap the law on muguka because research has shown it to be harmful.

Mr Omar said that Ruto followed the law while lifting the ban, but he should ban muguka because the law is faulty. “We need to meet with the President. Linturi comes from the area where muguka grows. He might use it as a tool to gain mileage in his political backyard and already.”

Kilifi Woman Rep Gertrude Mbeyu said that the President should balance the interests of all regions.