Raila Petitions Britain to Review Ban On Miraa

Former prime minister Raila Odinga has petitioned the British government to review the ban on miraa.

UK House of Lords passed a resolution to ban miraa in the UK and have it treated as a Class C drug like steroids and ketamine. Photo/FILE

UK House of Lords passed a resolution to ban miraa in the UK and have it treated as a Class C drug like steroids and ketamine. Photo/FILE

Mr Odinga wrote to British PM David Cameron last Friday asking him to extend the June 24 deadline when the ban of miraa in the United Kingdom takes effect.

The opposition leader wants the UK to extend the date the ban becomes effective by at least a year.

“The extension will allow further consultations and durable solutions, although we feel the best outcome would be a revocation of the ban altogether,” said Mr Odinga in a statement on Tuesday.

He added that the one year extension would also allow communities in Meru and Nyambene explore alternative markets since they have all along depended almost entirely on miraa, with the UK as the main market.

On May 9, 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.

Mr Odinga’s petition comes days after President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to intervene over the miraa ban.

Mr Odinga promised the UK government that should an extension be granted, he will personally initiate discussions with the Kenya government and elected leaders from regions where the stimulant is grown to ensure the crop does not pose a security problem to Kenya and to the UK and that Al-Shabaab and other terror organisations do not benefit from it.

He said the extension will enable Kenya work out better regulations of the business, including registration of all those involved in the trade.

– Business Daily