How Munya’s visit to Somaliland caused ban on miraa – State House

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu addressing the press. [Photo/Samuel Ramtu]

State House had explained the circumstances that prompted the Somali government to ban importation of miraa from Kenya.

In a press briefing on Sunday, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said that the Somalia Government interpreted Munya’s visit to Somaliland as Kenya’s recognition of the region as a government thus imposing the ban.

“The Governor of Meru travelled to Somalia to a region known as Somaliland and purported to reach an agreement with the authority there about miraa exports to that region,” stated Esipisu.

“Whatever his intentions good or otherwise, the governor held discussions with what amount to regional administration without the knowledge of the federal government of Somalia or without consultation or advice from Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

He warned governors against engaging in talks with other countries without consultations from the Ministry of Affairs saying that doing so may jeopardize Kenya’s relations with other countries.

“Governors including Munya should know that they do not run sovereign states and cannot hold discussion with sovereign government entities in other countries without consultation with ministry of foreign affairs and getting authority of concerned governments,” he said.

“Talking to government takes a certain decorum and protocol and is not like talking to private enterprise. County governments are similar to regional administrations and do not hold such power.”

He added that President Kenyatta engaged with his Somali counterpart and assured him that Kenya did not recognize breakaway regions of Somalia and emphasized that the confusion was caused by “Governor Munya whose understanding of foreign affairs is ill-informed.”

Munya had last week asked the government to come clean on the miraa row between Kenya and Somalia over miraa exportation saying he had no powers to force the ban.

Addressing residents of Maua on Saturday, Munya said that the government has crafted propaganda to blame him for Somalia’s ban on miraa importation from Kenya as a means to fight him politically.

“The government should do its job to ensure the government of Somaliland lifts the ban on miraa importation from Kenya. In fact, there should be further intergovernmental negotiations between the government of Kenya and those of the UK and Netherlands to ensure similar bans are lifted,” he said.

“Blaming me for the ban on miraa importation is just a political ploy because the government was there first even before I visited.”

Munya said that the government had opened an office in Somaliland and even sent 15,000 officials to work there before later closing it.

Miraa is considered a major income earner for most farmers in Meru.

Twenty five cargo planes transported miraa from Nairobi to Mogadishu in Somalia on Thursday, just a day after the Somali government lifted the ban.



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