Miraa lobby seeks talks with UK PM May during Kenya visit
What you need to know:
- Nyamita termed Ms May’s visit as timely and hope it will help resolve the issues that led to the ban on miraa in the UK in 2014.
- Ms May spearheaded the miraa ban in the UK when she was the Home Office minister after the herb was classified a Class C drug.
- Mr Munjuri wants the UK to reconsider its restrictions on miraa.
A miraa lobby group now wants to be included in the bilateral talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Theresa May who is set to visit the country.
In a letter addressed to Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) termed Ms May’s visit as timely and hope it will help resolve the issues that led to the ban on miraa in the UK in 2014.
Nyamita acting chairman Kimathi Munjuri said several attempts by miraa traders to seek clarification on the ban have not yielded results.
Ms May spearheaded the miraa ban in the UK when she was the Home Office minister after the herb was classified a Class C drug.
The ban that took effect in June 2014 was meant to “protect communities from health and social harms associated with khat and ensure that UK does not become a hub for international khat smuggling”.
The traders now want Ms May to shed light on the requirements for one to be is-sued with a Home Office license to export miraa to the UK.
“The UK government restricted our miraa produce from being imported, consumed, traded or possessed without a Home Office license. Nyamita wrote to the Home Office minister in 2014 seeking the particulars of the terms and conditions for the issuance of the license. We have never received any reply. We have engaged the office of the Prime Minister through the UK High Commission in Nairobi without success,” Mr Munjuri said.
Nyamita also wants the UK prime minister to clarify what happened to her government’s pledge to help mitigate on the effects of the ban.
“The only action we heard of was when the former High Commissioner Christian Turner launched a study to establish what can be done. The results of the study have not been made public and UK has not initiated any project in the miraa farm-ing areas. We urge that (Ms May) expedites the plans to help farmers who were affected,” he said.
Mr Munjuri also wants the UK to reconsider its restrictions on miraa, saying factors that contributed to the ban have proved to be unfounded.