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Coast legislators unite to support ban of muguka

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 02:45 | By
Coast MPs support Muguka ban
Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako who is also the Chair of the Coast Parliamentary Group addressing the press on the collective decision by Coast legislators to support the ban on Muguka in the region. PHOTO/Reuben Mwambingu

Legislators from the Coast region, under the Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG), have united in support of local governors’ decision to ban muguka, a stimulant they term dangerous.

CPG chair Danson Mwashako, along with other lawmakers from various political affiliations, described muguka as a “scientifically tested and proven poison” that is severely impacting the region’s youth.

“Today, we engaged with experts, including medical doctors and psychologists, who presented compelling evidence showing muguka’s harmful effects. It not only turns young people into ‘zombies,’ but also reduces sperm count by 50 percent, posing a generational risk. We have ample justification to support the ban and aim to escalate this battle to the legislative level. Today is just the beginning; we will seek parliamentary approval to empower regions to ban harmful products,” stated Mwashako, who is the MP for Wundanyi.

In an unusual display of unity, legislators from the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and their ODM counterparts criticized President William Ruto’s stance on the muguka ban.

Not intimidated

Key figures, including Kilifi North MP Owen Baya the deputy majority leader in the National Assembly, and EALA MP Hassan Omar Hassan, vowed not to be intimidated by those they perceive as having undue influence over the president.

 “We are part of the government too. Some believe they have more influence, that they can sway the president in their favor. We remind them that we have substantial numbers in parliament thanks to sacrifices made by Coast representatives, including Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) and independent MPs who joined the government. We will not permit the trade of poison in our region. We urge the People of Embu to find an alternative,” Baya warned, cautioning against any attempts to overturn the ban by force.

 Baya criticized President Ruto for disregarding the Coast’s concerns and favoring the political interests of Meru and Embu regions.

“On this matter, Mr President, we feel ignored. Your decision was politically motivated, not nationally considerate. We expect better,” he asserted, pledging to introduce a bill to amend the Crops Act 2022 and repeal the Miraa Regulations 2023.

EALA MP Hassan Omar Hassan echoed the sentiment, urging the President and Parliamentary leadership to prioritize national interests.

“While the people of Embu have economic interests in muguka production, our priority is to protect our citizens from its harmful effects. We are pleased with the nationwide support we’ve received,” Hassan said.

ODM stand

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi expressed ODM and Azimio’s firm support for the bill, vowing to stand with the Coast leaders in their fight against muguka. “We acknowledge the economic benefits for Embu, but we cannot allow harmful products to destroy a generation. We are with you in this struggle,” Wandayi assured, encouraging the Coast community to remain resolute.

 Other leaders present included Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga, Kisauni MP Rashid Bedzimba, Mwatate MP Peter Shake, Kilifi county MP Gertrude Mbeyu, Magarini MP Harrison Kombe, Ganze MP Kenneth Tungule, and Taveta MP John Okano.

Embu Governor Cecil Mbarire insists that a middle ground must be found to save the business.

Cecil Mbarire, Governor, Embu: “Our economy has been under attack following the ban of the transport, sale, and use of the products. We held a meeting to ensure that normalcy is restored.”

The muguka and miraa debate is now moving beyond the coastal counties, with leaders from northern Kenya now joining in and throwing their weight behind their coastal counterparts.

They are warning the government against applying double standards in the fight against drugs and substance abuse, while at the same time hinting at going the way of the coastal counties in dealing with the stimulant up north.

While Mombasa and Kilifi counties have declared a ban on the stimulant, Kwale County has upped the resistance with measures aimed at striking where it hurts the most for the traders of the stimulant.

The finance bill for Kwale County 2024 has proposed a significant change in the levies charged to traders dealing in both miraa and muguka.

When the bill is assented to, those willing to continue trading in the commodities will now have to pay fifty thousand shillings for single business licenses and permits, up from the current Sh10,000.

The levy to be charged for offloading muguka and miraa in the county will also be exponentially increased.

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