Inside Politics

UDA rift widens over muguka controversy

Thursday, June 6th, 2024 04:20 | By
Meru MPs addressing the press. PHOTO/ PRINT.

President William Ruto’s journey at the Coast is no longer a bed of roses amidst the ongoing muguka controversy.

The Mombasa county government was the first to announce the ban on the sale and distribution of Muguka before the neighbouring Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties joined the fray.

In an executive order dated May 22, Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir said no motor vehicles carrying the products will be allowed entry into the county.

But five days later, the president would meet Embu leadership before terming the ban imposed on Muguka in Kilifi and Mombasa counties as null and void.

Ruto added that Muguka is a scheduled crop in accordance with the Crops Act 2013 and the Miraa Regulations 2023.

The Miraa Regulations 2023 were passed by the National Assembly and the Council of Governors in concurrence of the council of governors.

Contradict legislation

“With Muguka having been recognised by national legislation, any other laws or orders that contradict national legislation is null and void,” Ruto said in a dispatch from State House.

The president’s response appears to have rattled his key political loyalists in the region, who are now showing signs of pulling away.
High-profile foot soldiers in the region led by Gender, Culture, The Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa, have rallied behind the decision to ban muguka in the region, a move President Ruto opposed.

Last week, Jumwa urged other regional leaders to follow suit and ban muguka.

She is not alone. Similarly her Defence counterpart Aden Duale, another Ruto’s key ally has called for the fight against the use of Muguka by classifying it as a drug.

Duale said the fight against drug and substance abuse calls for a collective, whole-of-society approach.

Combat other substances

On his X account, Duale said “As we fight the production, distribution and consumption of illicit brew, with the same emphasis, we must combat other substances, Muguka included.”

“We believe muguka is a drug and is destroying a lot of young people. If we are fighting alcohol then we should fight muguka.” Duale said.

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, Deputy Majority Leader in the National Assembly, and East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Hassan Omar Hassan, Vice Chair of the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA), who both played significant roles in Ruto’s 2022 campaign, have also joined the bandwagon.

On Monday, Baya and Hassan Omar expressed scepticism about the president’s stance on muguka. They emphasized that Coast leaders will not be intimidated by those who believe they wield more influence within the government.

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