We must decide muguka's status

In Summary

• It is legal to grow and sell miraa and muguka in Kenya

• Miraa and muguka are both addictive intoxicants widely used in Kenya, especially at the Coast


This month Kilifi and Mombasa counties banned the sale of muguka, another form of miraa that is grown on a small bush. However they were swiftly overruled by President Ruto.

He declared that muguka is a scheduled crop under the Crops Act of 2013 and the Miraa Regulations of 2023 and therefore the coastal bans are invalid.

Embu farmers want to continue making money and the President needs their votes. But it is only legal to grow miraa or muguka, not to consume it. Would we want to legalise the growing and consumption of bangi which is no more dangerous than muguka?

No one defends the consumption of muguka, especially the families of addicts, so why defend its growing?

Ruto is right – growing and selling muguka is legal in Kenya. Therefore, we face three alternatives. One, to create a level playing field, we legalise all drugs, including muguka.

Two, we introduce new legislation to outlaw the production and consumption of muguka. Three, we tax muguka to make it prohibitively expensive, as one governor has suggested. We now must choose the best way forward for muguka.

Quote of the day: "I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance."

Christopher Marlowe
The English playwright died on May 30, 1593

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