Miraa is not a drug, Mututho declares

NACADA chairman John Mututho gestures when he appeared before parliamentary adhoc committee on miraa on October 8,he is flanked by director Fazul Mohammed.Photo/File
NACADA chairman John Mututho gestures when he appeared before parliamentary adhoc committee on miraa on October 8,he is flanked by director Fazul Mohammed.Photo/File

The National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse chair John Mututho has urged the National Assembly to amend the law that classifies miraa as a drug.

Mututho, who appeared before an ad-hoc committee on miraa, made a retreat on Nacada’s earlier position on miraa. He said the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act of 1994 must be changed to remove the offending clauses.

The law classifies Cathine and Cathinone, the two main substances found in Miraa, as harmful and qualifying to be in the category of drugs.

“This is a matter that must be resolved immediately to sanitise the trade and use of Miraa. Once it is done, the offending research documents will be withdrawn,” Mututho said.

The ad-hoc committee chaired by Meru MP Florence Kajuju is gathering information on the status of the stimulant after it was banned in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Jordan, Netherlands and recently in Britain as a harmful drug.

Mututho’s position is however, contrary to that of his predecessor, Dr Frank Njenga, who has been pushing for the classification of the plant as a drug.

Some committee members have accused the agency of masterminding the ban.

“We want the chair to tell usif that is his individual position or that of Nacada. His stand is different from that of Nacada. Is he giving a cosmetic position,” Kieni MP Kanini Kega said.

Mututho maintained that research conducted on miraa has not shown it contains harmful substances.

He said that the studies and research had showed that the amount of Cathine and Cathinone in miraa and their effects are too low to warrant the crop to be considered a drug.

“Miraa is not as dangerous as some people want it to look. Research has shown that it ranks very low in substances that are dangerous,” Mututho said.

Mututho disowned any campaigns against miraa. He said he is willing to prepare a report that could be used by miraa farmers who have moved to the court in the UK to challenge the banning of the stimulant.

He said he will give the report to the committee within ten days.