Igembe North MP Maoka Maore’s recent remarks touching on the miraa trade have caused an uproar from farmers and traders in Igembe region.
Speaking at a school function on Friday, Hon. Maore revealed that some unnamed miraa traders were illegally smuggling the crop to Somalia and other markets despite the ban in the respective countries.
“There are people still engaged in smuggling miraa into Somalia. They have severally dragged my name into their conmanship, with lies that I am hindering their illegal business.” said Hon. Maore.
According to Maore, the said miraa traders have been operating in collaboration with Agriculture CS Peter Munya, whom he accuses of awarding fake permits to the traders.
“The permits used by these traders were obtained from the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary. His office is aiding the illegal business. After the recent presidential elections in Somalia, they are now rushing and scrambling at Munya’s office for permits.” says Hon. Maore.
In response, traders and leaders in Igembe have accused the legislator of doing nothing to help the miraa business, being the major source of livelihood in the area.
“What has Maore done to salvage the miraa business? It’s unfortunate that such sentiments can come from a Member of Parliament. He should be reminded that very few people can afford school fees for their children right now.” says MP Aspirant Julius Taitumu.
According to Justus Kagwima, another MP aspirant in Igembe North, Hon. Maoka Maore’s sentiments are a reflection of his unwillingness to offer solutions to miraa farmers in the area.
“It is unfortunate for the MP from Igembe North to insult our miraa farmers calling it “magendo”. The people of Igembe have finally known their real enemies.” says Mr. Kagwima.
“We thank CS Peter Munya for the great effort and love he has so far demonstrated to the great people of Igembe in his capacity as Agriculture minister. He has tirelessly worked to ensure miraa farmers can sell this green gold in our neighboring countries against strong resistance from Igembe North MP.” he adds.
999 Miraa Promises
The miraa business has for several years been shrouded with political gimmicks and false promises, mostly during the electioneering period.
Barely 5 months ago, Agriculture CS Peter Munya hosted a miraa trade delegation from Somaliland, a meeting which culminated in the signing of a memorandum to open up new markets in the country.
The meeting came on the heels of conclusion of a Miraa Scientific Conference organized by the Meru County Government in efforts to spur value addition and solicit new markets for the crop.
The Igembe people are however familiar with these gimmicks, albeit in different colors.
In the run up to the 2017 polls, donned in beautiful royal colors, politicians dangled the same carrots in Igembe.
On 2nd November 2020, Hon. Maoka Maore, in the company of Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and several other leaders vowed to ensure the Somalia market was reopened in two weeks.
Speaking after a visit to Harambee House, the leaders disclosed that President Uhuru had issued directives to Interior Cabinet Secretary and head coordinator of all National Government Ministers Dr. Fred Matiang’i to ensure the Somali Miraa market is reopened in 14 days.
Governor Kiraitu said he would closely work with Hon. Maore and other leaders from Igembe to permanently resolve the Miraa problem, accusing CS Munya of lone-ranger tactics that had borne no fruits.
Residents are however concerned that the said directive by the President has not yielded any results two years later.
“In 2020, Maoka Maore promised that the miraa market would be reopened in 14 days. It’s now 2 years and nothing can be seen. We are wondering whether a day is equivalent to one year in his calendar.” says Mr. Kamakia Arunga.
The author is a Digital Strategist. He occasionally writes on matters Technology, Politics and Health