Senator Abdullahi seeks to amend Crops Act to ban miraa, muguka

Nominated Senator Miraj Abdullahi. [File, Standard]

Nominated Senator Miraj Abdullahi has said she will lobby for an amendment to the Crops Act 2013 to ban the supply of miraa and muguka across the country.

Abdullahi argued that the two crops are stimulants that had affected the lives of youth and they are easily accessible to school-going children.

She said that she will seek the support of other senators to ban the two crops that are considered a cash crop in Meru and Embu counties.

The Nominated senator said the Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir acted contrary to the law when he issued an Executive Order banning muguka in the county.

“I would like to state the decision made by Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir is against the law since both miraa and muguka are classified as scheduled crops. That is why I am seeking an amendment of the Crops Act 2013 to have them declared illegal substances,” she said.

She wondered under which law those who are ferrying muguka to Mombasa will be charged even if they are arrested after the governor issued an Executive order banning the sale of the crop in the county saying that the right procedure should be followed.

Nassir said that they have come up with regulations so that the users and the larger community can co-exist peacefully as they consume muguka but they have not been adhered to prompting him make the drastic decision to ban the stimulant in the county.

The governor declared that all the relevant county departments are under instruction to enforce the order without exception and he had consulted with the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse to come up with the decision.

“I have signed an executive order to ban the entry of muguka into Mombasa and to ban the sale and consumption of muguka in the county, I have directed all outlets, retail or wholesale selling or distributing the products, to be closed immediately,” said Nassir.

President William Ruto on Monday ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to convene a meeting with stakeholders and address concerns raised on the sale and use of muguka following a meeting with elected leaders from Embu County led by Governor Cecil Mbarire.

During the meeting at State House, Nairobi, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi informed the President that muguka is a scheduled crop in accordance with the Crops Act, 2013 and the Miraa Regulations 2013.

Linturi told the meeting which was attended by elected Members of Parliament and Members of County Assembly from Embu that the two pieces of legislation were passed by the National Assembly and the Senate with the concurrence of the Council of Governors.

Senate Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi has sponsored the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Amendment Bill, 2024 that seeks to exempt cathinone and cathine substances found in miraa crop from being classified as psychotropic substances.

Murungi said that the principal object of the Bill is to delete cathinone and cathine being substances found in miraa from the ambit of the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances since the stimulant is recognized in the second schedule of the Crops Act 2013 and is a source of livelihood for many Kenyans.

Speaking during miraa stakeholders meeting in Nairobi, the Meru senator explained that the government has been at the forefront in instituting key institutional reforms in the miraa industry which culminated in the enactment of the Crops (Miraa) Regulations 2022, the opening of Somalia markets and the renegotiation of the reopening of markets in other countries.

“I would like to urge all stakeholders to support this Bill since miraa is not a harmful drug. I have never made any irrational decision as a Deputy Speaker of the Senate or as a Member of Parliament for the last 11 years simply because I have chewed miraa,” said Murungi.

He said that despite gains made in ensuring a robust miraa sector, the industry continues to suffer setbacks after Nacada classified miraa as a psychotropic substance because of the cathine and cathinone substances.

The Senate Deputy Speaker said that the Meru community has got more than 700,000 voters with their cash crop being miraa and asked Nacada and other organisations to drop their hard-line stance against the crop that is very dear to the community.

Supkem National Chairman Hassan Naado called for the rejection of the Bill for public interest saying consumption of harmful substances should be discouraged citing cases of Kenyans who have lost teeth due to chewing miraa for years.

The Senate Security Committee Vice Chairperson Karen Nyamu said that all the views presented by the various stakeholders will considered when the Bill is debated in the House.