Former Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow has urged the Somali community to stop consumption of miraa (khat).
The ex-legislator termed miraa as a drug and an ‘evil’ crop which was destroying many youths and asked the Somali community to discard it.
In a tweet on Friday, Kerrow said the government should stop issuing incentives to boost miraa farming, adding it should only help farmers to invest in alternative crops.
“Miraa is a drug. Period. No amount of political patronage in Kenya will change that fact. The sooner the Somali (consumer) community discards this evil crop destroying their youth, the better for this nation too. Government should only fund farmers to diversify to other crops,” he posted.
The ex-Senator’s remarks come amid confusion in the government on whether miraa should be classified as a drug or not.
In 2017, the Kenyan government petitioned the United Nations to remove miraa from the international list of psychoactive drugs after local scientists gave it a clean bill of health.
However, the Ministry of Health recently classified the shrub as a dangerous drug to human health, contradicting earlier findings by government scientists.
A 2015 study commissioned by the government revealed that miraa consumption affects sexual performance among men and also leads to a heart attack.
“The study has proven that the consumption of miraa affects sexual capability of men and could lead to heart attack,” said lead scientist Dr Ochiba Luanda, a lecturer at Moi University.
“The consumption of the drug also results to a rise in blood pressure but it does not cause cancer as has been reported in some quarters,” he added.