Mombasa joins Kilifi in 10-day campaign against muguka addiction

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Thoya expressed dismay at what he perceived as the national government's neglect of coastal leaders' concerns about muguka.

More leaders in the coast region have embarked on a 10-day campaign against the widespread use of muguka, a stimulant popular among the youth.

Mombasa County joined the initiative on Tuesday, a day after Kilifi North MP Owen Baya launched it at the Kibaoni Social Hall in Kilifi town. Running from June 10 to June 20, the nationwide initiative is titled "Save Lives by Burning Muguka Leaves: Join the War Against Muguka."

It aims to shed light on the detrimental effects of muguka consumption, particularly on the younger generation, while uniting communities, leaders, and stakeholders in addressing the social, economic, and health challenges associated with addiction.

Addressing the press at the governor's office on Tuesday, Mombasa Deputy Governor Francis Thoya noted the need for the campaign.

Thoya expressed dismay at what he perceived as the national government's neglect of coastal leaders' concerns about muguka.

"We have realised that the national government has decided to ignore us on this. For us, the issue of muguka is no longer merely about leaders; it is about our people. That is why we are launching this campaign to educate our communities about the harmful effects and advocate for its prohibition in our region,” he stated.

Thoya highlighted the multifaceted approach of the campaign, which will involve the participation of stakeholders, including political and religious leaders, and various community engagements.

He noted the determination of coastal leaders to tackle the issue head-on, even if it means bypassing traditional channels, as bureaucracy is often an issue.

"If the government does not want to listen to the leaders, it will be forced to listen to the people. We are prepared for this fight. You can expect a significant announcement following this campaign."

The deputy governor further said the campaign will advocate for support for the draft Crops (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which seeks to remove miraa (khat) from the list of scheduled cash crops.

They criticised the government for what he termed an indifference to the concerns of coastal leaders, suggesting a bias in favour of regions where the ruling party garnered more electoral support.

"The reason why the president is engaging leaders from Meru and Embu is because he got the majority of his votes from those areas," he claimed.  “If he had received the majority of votes from the Coast, then perhaps he would prioritise our concerns."

Thus far, President William Ruto has asked Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi to hold a meeting of industry stakeholders across the country to address arising issues where muguka and miraa are concerned.

Coastal governors forming the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani economic bloc have refused to attend the meeting, insisting on a personal meeting with the president, as was the case with Embu County officials.

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