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Judge Halts Muguka Ban in Mombasa

On May 22, 2024, Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Sheriff Nassir issued an order to ban muguka in the county.

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A judge in Embu on Tuesday blocked a countywide ban on muguka from taking effect in Mombasa, preventing the nation’s first such prohibition on the caffeine-filled stimulant that produces a mild high when chewed.

The judge, Lady Justice Lucy Njuguna, sitting at the High Court in Embu County, halted, at least temporarily, the muguka ban in the coastal county to allow time for complainers to continue their lawsuit challenging the new order that looked to instate the ban as unconstitutional.

“That the pending inter parties hearing and determination of this application a conservatory order be and is hereby granted restraining and/or stopping the respondents and or its agents from effecting, implementing and or enforcing Executive Order No. 1 issued on May 22, 2024, by the 1st Respondent and 2nd and 3rd Respondents to last until July 8, 2024, when the application shall be heard,” her ruling read in part.

The complainers, who are the plaintiffs that filed the case, are Kutherema Muguka Sacco Society Limited and the County Assembly of Embu, and the respondents are Mombasa, Kilifi and Taita Taveta, who sought the ban on the sale and use of muguka within their counties.

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The order to ban the drug in Mombasa was issued by Governor Abdulswamad Sheriff Nassir last week through Executive Order No. 1 of 2024, which directed its sale, distribution and use to stop within its territory and vehicles carrying the same from producer counties, which is mainly Embu, could not enter the county.

While issuing the directive to ban it, Governor Nassir complained that it had caused widespread damage, especially to the younger generation in the coastal region, and thus, keeping it out of the hands of kids is his top policy priority.

However, a day ago, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said those county-level bans on Muguka, a variety of miraa, were null and void as the crop is permitted in the constitution and recognised in the Crops Act 2013.

The Mombasa Governor had said that when those younger ones consume just 20 leaves of the drug, it is enough to make them have a toxic imagination, hence a threat to their well-being.

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JUSTUS KIPRONO
JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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