Meru Governor Peter Munya has said his life is in danger after he was blamed for a ban on miraa flights to Somalia.
A combative Mr Munya said miraa cartels are likely to “trail and kill him” after Somali Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan said he was to blame for the ban that took effect on Tuesday.
The county boss who spoke at Mituntu Health Centre in Tigania West sub-county on Wednesday accused the Jubilee administration of colluding with the Somali envoy to lie to Kenyans that he was responsible for the impasse.
“The way my rivals are following me is not good, now they have put me in danger,” said Mr Munya.
“When you try to fight for miraa market they say you are responsible for the ban. A clear report has been given that the reason to ban the export of miraa for the time being is because of the Igad meeting that is taking place in Mogadishu.
“The ministry of Defence in Somalia put it clearly that the Al-Shabaab had planned to hit any plane seen in the Mogadishu air. Now has Munya become an Al-Shabaab?” posed the governor.
“My agenda is to fight for miraa. But it is very dangerous that while my rivals are targeting me they are exposing me to the miraa cartels who are known for killing those sabotaging their businesses like the activist Ntai wa Nkuraru,” said Mr Munya.
He said he went to Somaliland to negotiate for a market for the stimulant.
He added that the jubilee government had already opened a liaison office at Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland before he visited.
Mr Munya maintained that the “temporary ban’ to export the commodity has arrived after the security intelligence following the IGAD meeting scheduled to be held in Mogadishu.
He accused the jubilee administration and linked Senator Kiraitu Murungi and Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi “as the masterminds of the propaganda”.
“Kiraitu is holding talks with the Somalia ambassador to plan a propaganda to fight me. We know of their plans. The deputy president will tour Meru on September 17 and they have planned it well so that during the visit, the miraa ban politics dominates,” said a bitter Munya.
Meanwhile, the Meru County Assembly adjourned normal business to discuss the matter.
Ward representatives asked the national government to intervene and have the ban lifted as a majority of residents depended on the crop for their livelihoods.
Njia Ward representative Eunice Karema said farmers are likely to incur losses ranging from Sh100,000 to Sh300,000 daily if the ban is not lifted.
“The saturation of the stimulant in the local market has resulted into drastic reduction of prices,” she said.
Kiguchwa MCA Linus Athinya said the matter should not be politicised.
In Isiolo County, the Ameru Community asked the government to fast-track diplomacy to negotiate Somalia out of the flight ban.
While addressing a press conference in Isiolo town, Isiolo Chief Officer in charge of Trade Hudson Kinyua advised the farmers to prioritize value addition to a commodity such as Miraa juice production to ensure that the crop remains relevant in the market.
Meanwhile, Traders continued to count losses for the second day after Somalia banned miraa cargo flights.
Nyambene Miraa Traders Association spokesman Kimathi Munjuri said only one plane load of miraa left Kenya. He said several tonnes of the stimulant had gone to waste.
“The Somalia government is threatening carriers who ferry Miraa to Puntland and Somaliland airports if it makes its way by road to Mogadishu.
Only one trader had the courage to send his supplies to Somaliland. He will be using a private airstrip where he has organised for security,” Mr Munjuri said.
He advised farmers who have been relying on the Somalia market against harvesting their twigs.
(Additional Reporting by David Muchui and Vivian Jebet)