Coastal Kenya Governors set conditions for resolving Muguka ban

On Monday, June 3, 2024, governors from the Coastal region, who are part of the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani Economic Bloc, declined to meet with Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi regarding the ban on Muguka.

The governors from Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, and Taita Taveta collectively refused Linturi’s proposal in a letter dated June 2. They stated that Linturi could not serve as an impartial mediator on this contentious issue due to his previously expressed stance.

In the letter, the governors indicated that Linturi’s known position on the Muguka ban undermined the purpose of the proposed meeting. “As the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development, you have publicly pronounced yourself on the Constitutional and legal positions taken by Mombasa, Kilifi and Taita County Governors to ban Muguka,” the letter read.

They further emphasized that, given Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani’s interests in socio-economic and health security, Linturi’s impartiality on the subject was questionable.

Following their refusal to meet with Linturi, the governors expressed their desire to discuss the Muguka ban with President William Ruto directly. They stressed the importance of involving other key stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Health and the National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA).

Given that the issue extends beyond agriculture, they also recommended the inclusion of civil society and various security agencies in the discussions.

The governors highlighted the negative impact of Muguka sales on the region’s economy, security, and health. They pointed out that Muguka’s shorter harvest time compared to miraa makes it cheaper and more accessible to adolescents.

“We request and invite your support for a consultative meeting with the Head of State, to include the Cabinet Secretaries of Health, Internal Security, and the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet,” the governors concluded.