Uhuru, Kandie urged to talk with Somalia and resolve miraa ban

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Saturday September 10, 2016

A miraa plant in Maua, near Meru, on August 20, 2014. The plant is grown on plantations in the highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia, and harvested twigs are flown daily into Mogadishu airport to be distributed from there in convoys of lorries to markets across Somalia /FILE
A miraa plant in Maua, near Meru, on August 20, 2014. The plant is grown on plantations in the highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia, and harvested twigs are flown daily into Mogadishu airport to be distributed from there in convoys of lorries to markets across Somalia /FILE


Meru leaders have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta, East African Affairs CS Phyllis Kandie and Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed to talk with the Somalia government to lift the miraa ban.

On Tuesday, Somalia temporarily banned Kenya’s miraa planes from its airspace after intelligence reports that al Shabaab terrorists were likely to attack its busiest airport.

Woman representative Florence Kajuju said the issue should be addressed diplomatically to save miraa farmers.

She said the suspension is regrettable.

Kajuju spoke on the sidelines of an inspection tour of the Lunga Lunga one-stop border post by the parliamentary Committee of Regional Integration.

“We were relying on selling miraa to Somali after the United Kingdom banned miraa exports. For the last two days since the ban was imposed we have lost about Sh100 million. Traders, farmers and families have been affected,” she said.

Kajuju said the majority of Meru families rely on miraa for a living and for earning money to educate their children.

“It was wrong for Meru Governor [Peter Munya] to take upon himself an international issue concerning other states. If it is true he went to Somalia, then that was uncalled for and he does not deserve to be a Meru leader,” she added.
In July, Munya visited breakaway Somaliland and urged it to ease rules for miraa trade. Mogadishu was angered.

Igembe Central MP Kubai Iringo asked Munya to stop meddling in international affairs.

“We pray that the Somalia government will listen to us because Munya was not a representative of Kenya and we can say he was not representing Meru because he wanted to kill the community,” he said.

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