Goods Worth Ksh11 Million Set Ablaze Over Covid-19 Fears

  • Contraband goods destroyed by authorities in Wajir on November 7, 2019.
    Contraband goods destroyed by authorities in Wajir on November 7, 2019.
    Daily Nation
  • Miraa traders on Saturday, April 5, incurred losses to the tune of Ksh11 million after county officials impounded a consignment destined for the Coast.

    The consignment was being ferried from Meru County to Mombasa and Kilifi in two trucks when police and Kilifi County officials intercepted the vehicles at Mariakani.

    A report by The Standard indicated that the trucks were shipping a consignment of miraa (khat) estimated to weigh about three tonnes.

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    Miraa transport vehicles along the Nyeri-Nanyuki highway on September 8, 2017.
    Miraa transport vehicles along the Nyeri-Nanyuki highway on September 8, 2017.
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    Ezekiel Chepkwony, the Mariakani Sub-county Police Commander confirmed that officials had intercepted the vehicles, removed the goods and burnt them.

    Chepkwony asserted that the action was taken in line with the ban on the transport and sale of khat by the county government.

    He additionally stated that the value of the burnt contraband amounted to millions.

    "I understand that the total value of the khat was approximately Ksh11 million," stated Chepkwony.

    Mwenda Karani, the Mombasa Miraa Traders Association Chairman decried the move lamenting that the officials had failed to issue them with a warning on the ban.

    "We encountered a big loss. These are rumours and we are demanding for compensation," stated Karani.

    Jefwa Mkware, the Kilifi County Secretary, agreed that the county had issued a ban on the commodity three weeks prior but maintained that the county was not involved in the torching of the commodity.

    "We had issued a ban on miraa after the outbreak of the Covid-19 three weeks ago but yesterday's incident was the work of the national government. None of our officers was involved at all," Mkware asserted.

    Miraa traders at Kiengu miraa market in Igembe Central, Meru County on September 6, 2016.
    Miraa traders at Kiengu miraa market in Igembe Central, Meru County on September 6, 2016.
    Daily Nation

    Khat is a drought-tolerant crop with low cultivation costs which makes it an appealing agricultural option for farmers in areas prone to drought. 

    According to figures from the Kenya National Burea of Statistics, Kenya's biggest khat export market is Somalia which consumes about 50 tonnes of the commodity daily.

    Miraa farmers rake in approximately Ksh100 million daily from the sale of the commodity to Somalia alone.