By Nep Journal Correspondent:
Angry miraa farmers in Kenya’s Meru County poured into the streets in large numbers today following a ban by Somalia the importation of the stimulant.
Somalia cited a recent visit by Meru Governor Peter Munya to the self-rule seeking Somaliland for the ban saying a call by the Governor of the Miraa producing County for a recognition for Hargeisa infringed on its territorial integrity.
A day after the ban was effected, farmers cited millions in losses and held county-wide demonstrations.
Meru Governor Peter Munya now says he fears for his life following a report that he orchestrated the ban of miraa in Somalia.
Munya believes his “hard stance against manipulative miraa cartels” has also contributed immensely to his life being at risk.
Speaking at Mituntu Health Centre in Tigania West, Meru County, Munya said an activist, Ntai wa Nkuraru, was killed several years back by the cartels over his vocal campaigns to streamline the business.
Munya visited Hargeisa in July this year to lobby for easier trade rules for miraa exporters in Kenya in exchange for some form of recognition for Somaliland by Kenya.
“He linked the territorial integrity of the country to the miraa trade and interfered in the internal affairs of the country. This has created a lot of unbearable pressure on the government. We have suspended the trade to have these matters addressed,” Somali Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan was quoted by Kenya’s Daily Nation as saying.
The governor however refuted the claims, saying: “truth about why miraa market was suspended in Somalia is being withheld.”
“Trade relations between states are a function of the national government, and not county governments. Actually, I went to Somalia to assist in negotiating for better deals for miraa traders. I am shocked that I am being linked to the ban on miraa. Everyone knows that Somalia temporarily suspended planes carrying miraa to Mogadishu because of a convention set to take place in the capital,” said Munya.
“The claims have put my life at risk. I fear the cartels would come for me. The gang should leave me alone.” He added.
Munya says his political foes in Meru “met the Somali Ambassador to Kenya to orchestrate a statement that would paint him in bad light before his constituents.”
Somalia has however signaled its willingness to end the standoff maintaining her leadership will discuss the issue with the relevant Kenyan authorities to find an amicable solution.
Up to 20 planes carrying the stimulant used to arrive in Somalia per day prior to the ban.