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Kenyan MPs support ban on miraa exports

PHOTO | FILE The UK has moved to classify miraa as a drug and stop its importation into the country and not two MPs have thrown their weight behind the United Kingdom’s decision to ban miraa.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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Two MPs have thrown their weight behind the United Kingdom’s decision to ban miraa and want the Kenyan Government to follow suit.

MPs Diriye Abdullahi Mohamed (Wajir South) and Mohamed Shidiye (Lagdera) say Kenya should ban both production and consumption of miraa.

The two said the twig was a narcotic drug.

“Miraa is in the league of cocaine and heroin and is a drug whose production and consumption should be banned in this country,” said Mr Diriye.

“This substance has no nutritional value and we commend the UK government for the decision they took to impose a ban on it,” he added.

The British Government banned importation of miraa a fortnight ago to the chagrin of leaders from Meru where the stimulant is grown.

However, the two MPs urged miraa farmers to train their sights on other crops that have nutritional value, saying there could never be any economic justification for the harmful effects of miraa.

“Miraa is a substance that is harmful to society and is associated with several social ills including laziness, family break-ups and addiction and there cannot be any justification whatsoever for these ills,” Mr Shidiye said.

The leaders argued that since the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) had classified miraa as a drug, the government should now act by banning it.

“We ought to learn to respect our national agencies and act on their recommendations. That is why the government must follow in the footsteps of Britain and ban miraa,” they said.

They advised miraa farmers to grow alternative crops, warning that any attempts to justify miraa production would be thwarted.

“We are aware that miraa farmers are bitter but we are telling them to consider growing other crops that have nutritional value. We must accept that miraa is a drug and do away with it,” added Mr Diriye.

The two leaders said that even though miraa is grown in the larger Eastern region, it is members of the Somali community who have borne the greatest brunt of the stimulant.

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