Members of Kenya Miraa Farmers and Traders association,led by their chairman Dave Mutheri,(far right),and their treasurer Mike Mutembei popularly known as Makarena (on wheelchair) leave Milimani law courts after High Court issued orders to stop the taskforce formed by the ministry of agriculture and fisheries from undertaking any activities on development of the crop without involving the association on Friday 5 June 2015.
BY SAM ALFAN.
High Court on Friday suspended the funding of a taskforce set up recently by President Uhuru Kenyatta to oversee the development of the Miraa industry in the country.
Justice George Odunga issued orders restraining the ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries from releasing any funds to the ten members team pending hearing and determination of a suit filed by the Kenya Miraa Farmers and Traders Association (KMFTA).
“The orders blocks any allocation disbursement or funding of the taskforce published on May 5 by agriculture cabinet secretary”, the judge ruled.
Justice Odunga issued the orders after Kenya Miraa Farmers and Traders Association argued that the appointments of the ten member committee were political and members of the Miraa community were never consulted or involved in its formation.
The judge also heard that tax payers stands to lose substantial amount to the tune of Sh 600 million should the ministry of agriculture go ahead to fund the illegal taskforce.
“The appointees are relative’s personal assistants of sitting members of parliament in Meru County and whose appointment is suspect since none of them is a Miraa farmer” Kenya Miraa Farmers and Traders Association chairman Dave Muthuri states in an affidavit.
After hearing the association briefly, Justice Odunga directed the farmers to serve the CS, Ag and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food authority with the suit papers within 14 days.
He further directed the case to be mentioned on June 16 for further directions.
In a gazette notice dated May 5 2015 acting CS Adan Mohamed mandated the taskforce to come up with strategies that will support the development of the Miraa industry.
The team is expected to lobby for the recovery of the lost market for Miraa in Europe and the America and look for ways to venture into other markets worldwide.
The team chaired by Joseph Mwereria, is also expected to look into the welfare of the Miraa farmers.
It also expected to undertake research on Miraa agronomy, variety improvement, product development and value addition.