Meru MPs Plan Revenge on British Soldiers

  • Members of Parliament from the Meru region have vowed to oppose the Kenya-United Kingdom agreement on military training, once its brought before the National Assembly for ratification.

    The lawmakers promised to shoot down the pact that allows British troops to train in Kenya, in retaliation of the khat (miraa) ban in the United Kingdom (UK).

    The legislators led by Senator Kiraitu Murungi on Wednesday made the revenge plan clear, blaming the UK Government of destroying their people's livelihood when they prohibited their cash crop. 

    “Since the British government now wants us to ratify the co-operation and allow their soldiers to continue to train here, we feel that it is time for us to say no as they did to our miraa,” said Kiraitu.

    They further argued that the agreement would exploit Kenya yet Britian refused to import miraa, despite scientific proof that the crop was just a mild stimulant and not a hard drug as percieved by the UK Government.

    In their attempts to convince the United Kingdom against prohibiting miraa, a delegation from Meru county travelled to London and made a presentation to the Home Affairs Committee in the House of Commons.

    Senator Murungi recalled that they left knowing that the ban would not be imposed, but later learnt that the Conservative government mobilised both the House of Commons and House of Lords, which eventually actualised the embargo.

    Their move is seen as a shot on the Jubilee government's leg, after the ruling coalition settled on the agreement with the British counterpart in a bid to change the sour diplomatic relationship between the two countries. 

    The Meru MPs now risk straining the ties, if they successfully lobby their colleagues in parliament against the defence pact.

    British troops have been conducting military drills in Kenya for decades especially in Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo Counties, with some cases of misconduct among the servicemen being reported.

    A number of them have over the years been accused of commiting crime in Kenya while enjoying immunity, claims that formed part of the negotiations before the pact's renewal.

    The Defence Agreement signed in December last year, outlined that British soldiers culpable of crime in Kenya would be tried locally, ending a diplomatic stalemate between the two countries.

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