Kenya Should Not Celebrate Exporting Miraa To Somalia

By Alexander Opicho  (Nairobi)

On 10th June 2022, the Kenya government, citizens and political leaders were all in a song and dance because the then newly elected Prescient of somalia had now allowed Kenya to begin exporting miraa to Somalia. Kenya's miraa export to Somalia had been banned by the out-going Somalia President due to some diplomatic tiffs between Kenya and Somalia. Yes, it is good this business has been restored but what are it is benefits to Pan- African socio-economic welfare?

Miraa, a naturally growing herb in Kenya and Ethiopia is a drug which affects the brain of the user. Long consumption of miraa alters consciousness of the user, causes; insomnia, disconnected brain functionality , impaired sexuality, addictiveness and poor quality in public decision making.

Some academic researches on miraa have revealed that there is strong positive correlation between continued use of miraa and poor academic as well as professional performance, involvement in petty crimes, domestic violence, traffic offenses as well as poor quality of public life.

Hence, Kenya as a country that supports pan African spirit in the social economic sense , should not find it economically logical to celebrate extensive export of miraa to Somalia.

Somalia is now in economic tartars. It has no currency, no stock exchange market, a dysfunctional central bank, it has the highest number of illiterate population in the world, it has smallest number of hospitals, it has no local professionals, it has a no factories, no girls' schools, no tvet institutions, it has poor security, poor state of infrastructure, it has zero percent of vaccination against polio, negative attitude towards family planning and zero tolerance to modern reproductive health services. Thus, it is more logical for Somalia to give priorities to import things that can improve welfare and quality of life of its people, but not to import miraa which will make the youth of somalia to become helpless junkies.

Yes, miraa is a source of income for the people of Meru County in Kenya. But we should not build Meru by destroying Somalia. Meru County can still export milk , coffee, meat, expatriates, technicians, potatoes, nurses, and teachers to Somalia, not necessarily miraa.

Thus, Kenya must soul-search its trade relationship with Somalia to find a morally palatable business to do with Somalia but not to impose a socially destructive drug like miraa to the young people of Somalia.