High Court halts ban on muguka sale

A farmer in his muguka farm in Embu. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The High Court in Embu has dealt Mombasa and Kilifi governors a blow after stopping them from implementing executive orders banning sale of muguka, a khat variant, in their regions.

Justice Lucy Njuguna, on Tuesday, issued the conservatory orders, restraining the governors or their agents from interfering with the muguka trade in the coastal counties.

Kutherema Muguka Sacco and the Embu County Assembly had sought conservatory orders barring the two governors from enforcing the ban they imposed recently.

The judge said the court was satisfied that the application should be treated with urgency.

She ruled that the executive orders issued on May 22 should be shelved until July 8, when the suit will be heard interpartes.

The judge directed that the governors be served with conservatory order papers within seven days.

Following the directive, Muguka farmers celebrated, saying justice had been done.

“We welcome the conservatory orders, it is a win on our side,” one of the farmers said at Muraru Muguka Market in Mbeere South.

Earlier, the farmers had lamented that the move had messed up their business and vowed to fight until the Mombasa Governor Abduliswamad Sharif Nassir and his Kilifi counterpart Gideon Mung’aro, revoked the ban.

The farmers said Mombasa and Kilifi are their largest markets for their produce and rejected the decision by the two governors.

The farmers also insisted that growing and trading in Muguka was not illegal in Kenya and as such the decision by the two governors was misguided.

While imposing the ban, the two governors ordered that all outlets whether inform of retail or wholesale of Muguka in the regions be closed.

They directed all county departments enforce their directives with immediate effect.

The governors made the decision after considering the sentiments of the residents during public participation and consulting the National Authority for Campaign Against Drug Abuse ( Nacada).

They said their counties were alive to their constitutional responsibility to promote the right to health of the people and instil health consciousness among them.

They said scientific evidence has equivocally established that Muguka consumption causes mental health diseases and disability.

They said Muguka leads to devastating health and social -economic as well as environmental consequences and places burden on minors, families, the poor and the county health systems.

The farmers said they were dependent on Muguka farming to educate their children and meet other financial obligations and it should be protected at whatever costs.

One kilogramme of Muguka is sold between Sh300 and Sh600 and farmers have been making a kill out of its farming.

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