, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga has written to British Prime Minister David Cameron pleading for a delay on the introduction of the miraa ban in the United Kingdom which takes effect on June 24.
Odinga says he wrote to the UK leader on Friday asking for an extension of the effective date by at least a year.
He says the extension will allow for further consultations and a solution for Kenyan traders which will also enable them to explore alternatives and other markets.
The Opposition leader says the ideal solution would be for a complete lifting of the ban seeing that the UK is the largest market of miraa from Kenya.
He said if granted, the extension will enable the traders to better regulate the business and ensure it does not pose a security problem to both countries
He added that the ban would hit communities in the greater Meru region particularly at a time of economic uncertainty in the whole country.
He has promised the United Kingdom government that should an extension be granted, he will personally initiate discussions with the Kenya Government and elected leaders from the region including Members of Parliament, Senators, and Members of County Assemblies to help in the process.
The Nyambene Miraa Trade Association Spokesperson Kimathi Munjuri had previously requested support from the government to reverse the ban on miraa exports.
Munjuri says the European market is one of its major export areas and if lost, will adversely affect the industry.
The UK House of Lords had previously ignored presentations by the Kenyan Parliament’s House Select Committee that sought to persuade the UK Government to reverse the ban on the use of miraa.
On May 12, the House of Lords officially classified miraa as a drug, placing it in the same category as tranquilisers, Valium and anabolic steroids.