MPs plead with Uhuru to help lift Somalia miraa ban at IGAD talks

September 13, 2016 3:01 pm
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Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi urged President Kenyatta to lobby through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit in Mogadishu to convince Somalia to open up the miraa market/MUTHONI NJUKI
Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi urged President Kenyatta to lobby through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit in Mogadishu to convince Somalia to open up the miraa market/MUTHONI NJUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – The Meru Parliamentary Group on Tuesday appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and ask Somalia to lift the ban on miraa.

Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi urged President Kenyatta to lobby through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit in Mogadishu to convince Somalia to open up the miraa market.

Overview
  • Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi urged President Kenyatta to lobby through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit in Mogadishu to convince Somalia to open up the miraa market.
  • "We ask the President to use all diplomatic efforts possible to appeal to them to ignore Peter Munya's statements so that miraa flights to Somalia can resume," he said.
  • According to Murungi, a diplomatic row allegedly caused by Meru Governor Peter Munya led to the ban on miraa last week.

“We ask the President to use all diplomatic efforts possible to appeal to them to ignore Peter Munya’s statements so that miraa flights to Somalia can resume,” he said.

According to Murungi, a diplomatic row allegedly caused by Meru Governor Peter Munya led to the ban on miraa last week.

Murungi alleged that during the visit in Somaliland, Munya recognised it as an independent government whereas the Somali Government views it as a province of Somalia.

“The Governor purported to do international relations with Somaliland and promised them to come back to Kenya and fight and request our government to recognise Somaliland as an independent republic, a condition which had been given for establishment of trade links between the Meru County and Somaliland,” Murungi alleged.

Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi complained that miraa farmers had suffered greatly since Somalia – which is the largest miraa market closed its doors last week.

Following the ban, Meru which is the country’s biggest and major source of miraa was stuck with about half of its product which before the ban was sold in Somalia.

Linturi regretted that the ban had a direct impact on the economy of Meru in consideration that five constituencies in the county depend on it as a cash crop.

He also pointed fingers at Munya whom he blamed for making the alleged remarks that rubbed Somalia the wrong way.

READ: Kenya seeking speedy solution to Somalia miraa ban

Munya has since refuted the allegations and claimed that the Jubilee administration had colluded with the Somalia Government to accuse him of causing the ban.

Though the Meru Parliamentary Group primarily wants Somalia urged to re-open the market – citing the ban also in the UK and Netherlands – Linturi said miraa required a comprehensive approach that will resolve the challenges facing the industry once and for all.

“The issue for markets for miraa is a county function… it is not a function of the National Government; we are asking the President to intervene because our County Government has failed to address this important matter.

“We are going to get a permanent solution for the miraa farmers. The solution may not be known today but I can tell you because next year we will have an election- we will sit down and get a permanent solution for the problems that miraa farmers have,” Linturi said.

According to the leaders who were accompanied by Igembe Central MP Kubai Kiringo and Igembe North MP Joseph M’Eruaki, a report by the Miraa Taskforce would also stipulate broader solutions and recommendations of resolving the challenges that had engulfed the business.

Once the taskforce completes its work it will also recommend how the Sh1 billion allocated to the miraa business will be used.

READ: Government allocates Sh1bn to cushion miraa farmers

It was their hope that by end of the IGAD summit which was also attended by Meru Woman Representative Florence Kajuju, President Kenyatta would manage to restore miraa trade between Somalia and Kenya.

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