Case against miraa taskforce settled out of court as parties agree

Thursday November 9 2017

Miraa Task Force report

President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the Miraa Task Force report on April 4, 2017. Miraa traders have withdrawn a case in which they wanted the court to stop the implementation of the report and release of Sh1.2 billion. PHOTO | PSCU 

By KEN BETT
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Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) has withdrawn a case in which they wanted the court to stop the implementation of the Miraa Taskforce report and release of Sh1.2 billion.

Three traders, suing on behalf of the association, settled the matter out of court with all the respondents presenting the consent before Justice Alfred Mabeya.

The petitioners, including Kimathi Munjuri, Jacob Miriti, and Naftaly Kathurima, had argued that the release of Sh1.2 billion as ordered by the President may not have served the best interests of miraa farmers, traders and residents areas where it is grown.

TRANSFORMATION

They had claimed that the task force transformed itself into an implementation committee without consultation with stakeholders and the Meru County government which was listed as an interested party.

They wanted the respondents or their representatives barred from releasing Sh1.2 billion for the implementation of the taskforce report through undisclosed and unidentified saccos until the matter was heard and determined.

Head of Public Service and Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua, Finance and Agriculture Cabinet secretaries and the Attorney-General had been listed as respondents.

CONSENT ADOPTED

The court adopted the consent as an order which stated that the taskforce report be implemented without further delay.

The State will also consult and cooperate with the county government in the miraa value chain in the implementation of the report.

The parties further agreed that the execution of the report by the national and county governments shall involve the petitioners and other stakeholders in the miraa sector.

Last month the court had issued an order that the taskforce which was later changed to an implementation committee carried out its research in opaque manner and handed over the report without publishing its contents to Kenyans.

The implementation committee on development of miraa industry chaired by Geoffrey Nchooro M’mwenda had also been barred from performing its duties until the matter is determined.

IMPLEMENT

The agreement means the taskforce can now implement their recommendations.

Key among the recommendations include provision of seed capital for farmers to access affordable credit, aimed at the redemption of leased miraa farms to break the cycle of poverty.

The government will facilitate the setting up of saccos so that growers can access the credit in an organised manner.

The State says it is planning to set up a scientific study at the Kenya Medical Research Institute with a view to developing a scientific basis for lobbying against the restrictions imposed on the crop in parts of Europe.

The task force also recommended registration of miraa farmers to facilitate target intervention and eliminate possibility of fraud.

The report says a farmer-controlled agency styled along the lines of similar bodies for other cash crops should be formed.

The report also calls for lifting of all restrictions on the transportation of miraa through Kenyan airports. They said currently, it is only at Wilson Airport where there are no restrictions on the crop.