The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and narcotic Abuse (Nacada) has been warned by Agriculture and Livestock Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi after the state agency misclassified miraa as a narcotic.
The minister said that Nacada could not arbitrarily adopt a different position from other government entities because the Crop Act, 2013, recognized miraa and its variation muguka as a crop.
Yesterday, CS Linturi spoke before the Senate’s committee on Delegated Legislation, accusing Nacada CEO Victor Okioma of defying the government and his predecessors by classifying it as a medication.
Dr. Frank Njenga and John Mututho, among other former Nacada executives, had previously agreed that miraa is a crop and not a medication, he claimed, but Mr. Okioma has since renounced that view.
In order to promote, develop, and regulate the miraa business, Mr. Linturi was testifying before the committee that Tharaka Nithi Senator Mwenda Gataya chairs as it considers the Crops (Miraa) Regulations 2023.
He added it is regrettable that the current Nacada officeholders are defying their predecessors in the long-running battle to have it recognized as a crop.
Concerns from CS Linturi follow Nacada’s listing of the crop as one of the top three substances of abuse in the nation among 15- to 65-year-olds in May of this year. More than 960,000 people use miraa, also known as muguka.
Acording to the Nacada CEO, “it s responsible for many substance use disorders” since it contains psychotropic compounds that cause addiction in users.
He declared that attempts to create miraa value-added products like juice and wine would be rejected by the agency.
The administration of President William Ruto, according to Mr. Linturi, has a different perspective and has launched a robust drive to promote the substance as a crop.