Kenya: Kiraitu Opposes Newly Published Miraa Regulations

Meru — Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi has come out to condemn the publishing of the new regulations governing miraa farming, citing a lack of public participation as required by the law.

Speaking at Kaaga Methodist Church grounds while presided over the launching of the Meru cooperative forum, Kiraitu said he was against the implementation of the said regulations and will oppose them in any manner including moving to court.

"As the governor of Meru, I was surprised to read about the regulations in the news. I am wondering who came up with these laws and who was consulted," he said.

The governor said the drafters of the said regulations should have consulted him, considering that agriculture is a devolved function, and he would bring in farmers for consultations before giving them any greenlight.

"The regulations as they are unconstitutional, illegal, null and void. The dictatorial days are over and we are living in a democratic country where public participation is key," said Kiraitu.

Some of the contentious regulations, require registration and licensing of all Miraa dealers starting from the farmers to dealers.

The regulations were published last week, three years after they were formulated. They will cover the entire value chain, from production to consumption.

Kiraitu added that as a lawyer, he understands the implications the regulations will have on Miraa farmers and therefore will not allow their implementation.

"The licensing being talked about means getting more money out of our people's pockets which means their income will decrease," Kiraitu said.

He urged the newly formed cooperatives forum to unite irrespective of which crop or activity they were engaging in.

"Our farming is interdependent and if one sector is having an issue, this means the whole county gets into economic crises," Kiraitu added.

Giving an example of a miraa farmer who sells his crop to buy potatoes grown in Buuri and parts of Imenti central, Kiraitu emphasized on the importance of unity of purpose among players of all sectors in Meru.

The County boss thanked the national government for its diplomatic efforts in making sure the miraa crop gets its way back to the neighboring Somalia market a year after it was banned.

He urged the national government to speed up the signing of the diplomatic treaty with Somalia to make sure miraa farmers access the most important market soonest possible, recounting the economic problem the crop-growing regions of Nyambene have been going through since the former President of Somalia banned the entry of the Kenyan grown Miraa into his country. - Kna

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