EDITORIAL: Why muguka ban could prove ineffective

EDITORIAL: Why muguka ban could prove ineffective

In recent days, the nation has been engaged in a heated debate over the legality of banning Muguka in coastal counties such as Taita-Taveta, Kilifi, and Mombasa.

This issue has even drawn the attention of President William Ruto, who has called for a consultative forum with leaders from the affected regions. Meanwhile, Muguka farmers in Embu have taken legal action to challenge the ban’s legality.

Mombasa Governor Abdullswamad Nassir and Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro, who implemented the ban, cited health concerns, especially the impact on minors who have suffered serious health complications from consuming the substance.

While these health concerns are valid, there appears to be a misunderstanding of the legal provisions surrounding Muguka.

Muguka, a variety of Miraa, is classified as a scheduled crop under the Crops Act 2013 and is regulated by the Miraa Regulations (2023).

Farmer in muguka plantation fields. Photo: Local Media

The Act, passed by the National Assembly and the Senate, permits the growing, movement, sale, and consumption of Miraa. Thus, farmers in Embu and others involved in the trade are within their legal rights.

Don’t get us wrong. We do acknowledge the concerns of the Mombasa and Kilifi governors; we however call for sobriety in this debate.

For a start, we urge strict adherence to regulations concerning the sale of substances to minors. It is also an opportune time to evaluate laws governing transportation, sale and use of certain substances to conform with societal ideals.

If existing laws are deemed problematic, the appropriate course of action is to amend them through Parliament.

As the maxim goes, the law is made for man, not man for the law. When a law ceases to serve its purpose, it is either amended or changed.

Copy by Fred Indimuli- host Morning Cafe show

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