, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – Fifteen Shisha sellers have moved to court in a bid to get the ban on the flavored tobacco product lifted.
In a petition filed at the High Court on Friday, the petitioners through their lawyer Eric Matundura claim that the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu acted outside his powers in prohibiting the product arguing that the decision was biased and discriminatory in nature.
“Shisha is a product of tobacco just like cigarettes. The most we expected from the CS was to direct that the use of shisha should be in designated areas,” said Matundura.
Matundura said that stakeholders in the shisha business were not consulted before the implementation of the ban adding that Mailu contravened the provisions of the Statutory Instruments Act which obliges public bodies to involve stakeholders likely to be affected by policy decisions.
“The stakeholders were never consulted in arriving at the decision to ban shisha; there was no any form of public participation. The regulations carried out by the CS are erroneous and we are very hopeful that the court will agree with us that he acted outside the law and that the legal notice cannot stand,” he said.
On Thursday, the government in a legal notice banned the importation, manufacture, advertising and sale of shisha in Kenya.
It further warned that anyone found contravening the directive will be subject to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.
The parties will return to court on Thursday next week to for an inter-partes hearing on the sellers’ application for stay.