Political leaders and stakeholders in Embu, led by Deputy Governor Kinyua Mugo, Women Representative Pamela Njoki Njeru, and Kagaari South MCA Susan Wariru, mobilized a protest on Saturday, May 25, against the recent bans on muguka imposed by Mombasa and Kilifi Counties. The demonstration voiced concerns over the potential repercussions, including significant job losses, attributed to the bans.

Embu’s political representatives emphasized that muguka, a popular variety of miraa, is not a drug but rather a vital economic commodity in the region. They argued that its affordability and widespread consumption make it a crucial source of income for many households.

The bans on muguka sales and distribution were issued by the governors of Mombasa and Kilifi Counties, citing concerns over the stimulant’s unregulated usage and its impact on livelihoods. In response, Embu County Governor Cecily Mbarire announced plans to challenge the bans in court, asserting that they would deprive Embu residents of a significant source of livelihood.

Governor Mbarire reiterated that muguka is scientifically classified as a variety of miraa, sharing similar taste, product characteristics, and active ingredients. She expressed surprise at the ban imposed by the Mombasa governor, especially considering their recent discussions on the matter aimed at finding common ground.

During their meeting on May 15, 2024, Governor Mbarire and her Mombasa counterpart established a collaborative framework to address concerns raised by the Mombasa County Government regarding muguka trade. They emphasized the potential benefits of the cash crop for both counties and agreed to implement measures to ensure compliance with trade regulations.

The looming uncertainty surrounding the muguka bans has raised concerns among stakeholders in Embu County, where muguka farming and trading represent a significant portion of the local economy. With Embu being the largest producer of muguka, any disruption in its trade could have far-reaching implications for farmers, traders, and transporters.

As the legal battle over the muguka bans unfolds, the fate of Embu’s muguka industry hangs in the balance. The outcome of these developments will determine the future of muguka farming and trading in Embu County and its impact on the livelihoods of thousands of residents who depend on the industry for their sustenance.