- Daily Nation
Somalia has on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, lifted the ban on the sale of miraa (khat) from Kenya amid the diplomatic tension between the two nations.
The horn of Africa nation's Finance Minister Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh stated that the trade will resume provided traders acquire import licenses.
The ban, which was announced in April 2020, resulted in a trade standoff between the two neighbouring countries, with Kenyan farmers decrying massive losses.File image of Miraa truck driversFile
Traders from Kenya's Meru and Mbeere regions alleged that the embargo had occasioned the loss of Ksh5 billion daily.
In August, Somalia set stringent conditions on the lifting of the ban. The country demanded that Kenya must treat Somalia as an equal, refrain from interfering with Somalia’s internal affairs, and apologise for violating Somalia's airspace.
They also demanded that Kenya allow goods from Somalia which include fish, rice, sugar, honey, meat and milk. They also demanded that Kenya reverses the directive requiring flights from Somalia to make a detour to Wajir for inspection.
On November 3, 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta dispatched Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to lead talks in resolving the trade standoff between Kenya and Somalia.
Matiang'i had been given the assignment alongside Defence CS Monica Juma, Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo, and their Agriculture counterpart Peter Munya to come up with a solution to lift Somalia’s ban on miraa.
Matiangi later met miraa traders from Meru County, led by their Governor Kiraitu Murungi, and immediately embarked on finding a solution.
Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, Buuri MP Mugambi Rindikiri, Lapsset Chairman Titus Ibui, Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association Chairman Kimathi Munjuri and Igembe Central politician James Mithika also met Matiang'i.
The embargo, which was part of Somalia’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, became contentious after Kenya country decided to use it in brokering negotiations.President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo follow proceedings during Kenya's 16th annual National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi on May 31, 2018.
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