Nairobi — Miraa traders have denounced the call by Wajir South MP, Abdullah Diriye, to discourage the use of the stimulant among the Somali community.
Nyambere Miraa Traders Association (NMTA) spokesman, Kimathi Munjuri, says the community remains the biggest traders with more than half of the women in Wajir feeding their family from the business.
He added Miraa plays critical economic roles for households and discouraging the use would have many families go hungry.
"If he wants Miraa to be banned, let him tell us where he wants us to go, all lobbyists that want Miraa banned are Al- Shabaab recruiters, they want someone who is idle, desperate and very poor," Munjuri claimed.
The traders have vowed to take the MP to court if he continues with the accusations.
Diriye was on record saying that there is need to embark on a multi-pronged strategy for discouraging use of Miraa that involves the media, community campaigns, age limits on usage and provision of alternative means of livelihood.
"Yet even as Britain has seen the need to ban Miraa, here in Kenya, there's no serious discussion on the adverse effects of Miraa use on individuals, households, communities and the country," Diriye argued.
The legislator stated Miraa contributes to theft by its users to satisfy their craving, its adverse effects on health include tooth decay, lack of appetite and insomnia leading to psychosis, irritability and violence.
"Users of Miraa normally give priority to buying it over food for the households," Diriye claimed.
Diriye has also been against the Parliamentary Committee on Miraa pointing out that the members all come from the Meru community and have all benefited from the business hence they cannot be objective enough.
The committee is supposed investigate, inquire into all matters relating to Miraa, consider and review all research findings and make recommendations to the House within ninety days of the substance's implications on health.
"We need to put our act together, by October -the time the House of Commons resumes to begin the process of implementing the burn, and we need the report by the committee to be able to lobby the United Kingdom government, and he is derailing the process," Munjuri complained.
Since the proposed ban Miraa traders have been experience difficulties in their business with freight rates of the stimulant hiked twice.
"In June, they hiked the rates from Sh416 per Kg to Sh420 now it's at Sh424," the NMTA spokesperson said.
Deputy President William Ruto pledged to support the Miraa cause by donating Sh1m, alongside the Meru County Governor Peter Munya who also pledged to give a similar amount.
Diriye asserted the recreational herb was draining the economy of the community and its trade was not beneficial to the local Somali.
"While Miraa plays a critical economic role for households and traders involved in its cultivation and sale, its production and final consumption has many negative effects that far outweigh any apparent gains.," he said in a local publication.