Miraa traders in Northeastern can now breath a sigh of relief after President Uhuru Kenyatta in his new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus declared miraa as among the farm produce that has not been banned.
The president said movement of food supplies and other cargo will continue as normal during the declared containment period through road, railway and air.
“Any cargo-carrying vehicle or vessel shall be charged to a single driver and designated assistants; all of whom shall be designated as such in writing by the owner or operator of the said vehicle or vessel with reference to that vehicle or vessel,” said the president.
Three weeks ago Garissa Governor Ali Korane joined his colleagues from Wajir and Mandera in banning the sale and transportation of miraa claiming that it was aiding in the spread of the deadly disease.
The move was met with resistance and anger from the traders and consumers alike who stated that the ban was effected without proper consultation.
In Mandera, hundreds of traders took to the street to demonstrate against the move which they said was not well thought also noting that it was their only source of livelihood.
But speaking to the press in Garissa town, Korane, when asked about the latest measures, said that the president’s directives overrides any other directive earlier made.
“As you are aware we had banned the transportation and sale of the substance, but now that the president who is the boss in his own wisdom had given the go-ahead of its sale. We have no otherwise than abide by it,” he said.
He added: “However going forward we shall closely monitor the way miraa is packed, transported and distributed to ensure hygiene standards are observed,”.
Some of the traders who spoke to the press in Garissa welcomed the latest directive saying that the last few days had been tough for them.
“We want to thank the president for recognizing miraa as a cash crop,” said Amina Mohamed a trader in Garissa.
Korane said that his administration is doing everything possible and rising to the occasion of stopping any potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to our county
“Amidst the fear and uncertainty across the world emanating from the impact of the global pandemic on lives and livelihoods, I urge all the residents to heed the control and preventive covenants of social and physical distancing, frequent washing of hands and avoiding crowded places,”.
“We will in the coming days invest in putting up more hand washing facilities in all the sub-counties and the distribution of masks to the members of the public.