Supreme Court suspends ban on muguka sales

The Embu High Court has dealt a blow to the governors of Mombasa and Kilifi after blocking them from implementing executive orders banning the sale of muguka, a variant of khat, in their regions.

Judge Lucy Njuguna on Tuesday issued injunctions, restraining governors or their agents from interfering with the muguka trade in coastal counties.

Kutherema Muguka Sacco and the Embu County Assembly had sought conservative orders restraining the two governors from enforcing the ban they recently imposed.

The judge said the court was satisfied the application needed to be dealt with urgently.

It ruled that the executive orders issued on May 22 must be filed until July 8, when the lawsuit will be heard interpartes.

The judge ordered that the governors receive the guardianship order documents within seven days.

Following the directive, Muguka farmers celebrated and said justice had been done.

“We welcome the orders from the conservatory, it is a victory on our part,” said one of the farmers at the Muraru Muguka market in Mbeere South.

Farmers had earlier lamented that the move had ruined their business and vowed to fight until Mombasa Governor Abduliswamad Sharif Nassir and his Kilifi counterpart Gideon Mung’aro revoked the ban.

The farmers said Mombasa and Kilifi are their biggest markets for their produce and rejected the decision of the two governors.

The farmers also insisted that farming and trading in Muguka was not illegal in Kenya and as such, the decision of the two governors was wrong.

Imposing the ban, the two governors ordered all outlets, whether Muguka retailers or wholesalers in the regions, to be closed.

They ordered all county departments to enforce their directives with immediate effect.

The governors made the decision after considering the feelings of the residents during public participation and consulting the National Campaign Authority Against Drug Abuse (Nacada).

They said their counties were aware of their constitutional responsibility to promote people’s right to health and instil health awareness in them.

They said scientific evidence has equivocally established that Muguka consumption causes mental health illnesses and disability.

They said Muguka has devastating health, socioeconomic and environmental consequences and places a burden on children, families, the poor and the county’s health systems.

Farmers said they depended on Muguka farming to educate their children and meet other financial obligations and must protect themselves at any cost.

A kilogram of Muguka sells for between 300 and 600 shillings and farmers have taken advantage of its cultivation.