Miraa Ban Sets Motion For British Land Seizure

A Motion seeking forceful takeover of land owned by British Army, ranchers and farmers has been prepared in retaliation to the UK’s ban on the sale and use of miraa (khat).

A man holds a heap of Khat locally known as Miraa at Mweiga in Nyeri County on July 3, 2013. UK media reported that a ban of the mild stimulant in Britain saying it will be treated as class C drug like Cannabis and ketamine. Photo/FILE

A man holds a heap of Khat locally known as Miraa at Mweiga in Nyeri County on July 3, 2013. UK media reported that a ban of the mild stimulant in Britain saying it will be treated as class C drug like Cannabis and ketamine. Photo/FILE

The Motion received by the office the National Assembly clerk on Tuesday will seek to compel the State to take the unprecedented action, which looks set to trigger a diplomatic spat between Kenya and the UK.

MPs from Meru, where the stimulant is mainly grown, want land owned by the British Army as well as wheat, barley and farms held by Britons in Timau, Meru County offered to those affected by the miraa ban.

The forceful takeover would also affect ranches owned by Britons in Laikipia and Samburu, added Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi, who chairs the Meru Parliamentary Group and the author of the Motion.

On Monday, the House of Lords passed the resolution to ban the herbal stimulant in the UK and have it treated as a class C drug like anabolic steroids and ketamine.

The move is a setback to Kenyan farmers who grow the crop for export and will leave hundreds of traders, packers and transporters jobless, jolting the political class in Meru where khat is mainly grown.

READ: British MP’s Call For Review of Miraa Ban

Now, the MPs from Meru, who are behind the Motion, want the government to hit back and reposes large tracts of land owned by British ranchers.

“The House will invoke Articles 40 (3b) and 65 of the Constitution by budgeting for and compulsorily acquiring land owned or acquired by the British Army…and the ranches owned by British nationals,” reads the Motion.

Mr Linturi said that the compulsory acquisition is driven by public interest, arguing that a majority of 1.5 million residents of Meru are bound to be affected by the ban.

Miraa is banned in many Western countries, with the Netherlands being the latest to outlaw trade and use linked to the stimulant earlier last year.

If the Motion is voted for by two-thirds of MPs present during debate, the House Majority Leader takes it to the President for implementation.

– Business Daily