Nairobi:- THE chewing of miraa will be restricted to five hours a day if the national anti-drug body has its way.
National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority director Mohamed Fazul has said they are in the process of drafting a law that seeks to regulate the chewing of the mild narcotic also known as khat.
He did not say how the law will be enforced.
According to Fazul, Nacada proposes that miraa chewing is restricted to between 5pm and 10pm.
“It is a drug with two active ingredients – cathine and cathinone,” said Fazul. “We are drafting a law to regulate its usage and consumption.”
He was speaking in a phone interview with the Star.
Reacting to the proposal, Nyambene Miraa Traders’ Association spokesman Kimanthi Munjuri said: “To seek to know who exactly is chewing miraa and at what time is not a problem as such. Even where miraa comes from, it is controlled. There is an unwritten rule in Meru, set by the council of elders, that chewing of miraa among the youths is not allowed before you are circumcised…also it is frowned upon when women chew miraa in this region.”
He welcomed Nacada’s proposal to regulate miraa use.
“Chewing miraa should be controlled. Our current problems [the ban of the miraa trade in the Western nations, most recently the UK] was brought about by lack of control, where people mostly of Somali origin used to chew miraa for days in the UK and then later complain that it is harming them health-wise,” Munjuri said.
“Everybody suffering from all manner of situations and drug abuse hides behind miraa. You find someone taking only one bundle the whole night, during which he adds consumption of other drugs like bhang, and then, because miraa is the one they are seen chewing or holding, their obviously visible drugged state is blamed on miraa,” he said.
Munjuri said the only recommendation they have for Nacada is to have the chewing time set for between 2pm to midnight and not between 5pm and 10pm as he had proposed.
But Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi, who has intensified his campaign against the drug in his constituency, said restricting the sale and consumption of miraa is not enough.
He said miraa destroys families, especially in the Muslim community, and also eats into the economy.
“This should not be about regulation. It is supposed to be banned,” said Mwinyi on the phone.
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya organising secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa yesterday supported Mwinyi’s sentiments that the drug should be banned.
He said there is no need to regulate the sale and consumption of a drug “that has no benefit to the society”.
Source: The Star