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Hopes for Kenya to resume selling miraa (khat) in the United Kingdom look remote after the government insisted that the ban would not be reviewed.
The British High Commission in Nairobi Thursday confirmed that the ban would take effect on June 24 despite pleas from President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to reverse the decision.
The UK government said the ban was not targeted at Kenya, adding that it would cushion Kenya from effects of the ban by providing more aid to support economic growth.
“The UK is one of the last countries to reclassify miraa, with the majority of other EU member states already having done so, as well as most of the G8 countries, including Canada and the US,” said the commission in a statement.
On May 9, the House of Lords passed the resolution to ban the herbal stimulant in the UK and have it classified in the same category as anabolic steroids and ketamine.
“There are real community concerns on the health and social harms of miraa use,” said the statement.
Official data indicates that the miraa business supports an economy that generates Sh5 billion in sales annually.
“The UK Government understands the concerns and potential economic impact in Kenya of the UK decision to ban miraa,” added the statement.
The decision could put Kenya and the UK on a collision course weeks after Kenya rebuked Western nations for warning its citizens against visiting the country over terror threats.
– Business Daily