by Jeff Mwaura, firstname.lastname@example.org
NAIVASHA – Three days after Somalia suspended khat flights from Kenya, the governor of Kenya’s eastern province of Meru Peter Munya who was blamed for the ban was forced to abandon his houses and go into hiding following death threats by drug cartels, sources said Friday.
Mr. Munya had earlier told local media that he was aware of khat business cartels “that include murderers who were plotting to end his life’.
“The cartels have started targeting me with lots of propaganda concerning the market. It is a really worrying situation,” he said, adding, “I am being accused of being a hindrance in the marketing of khat.” He said.
Police sources in Meru told Alleastafrica that the governor had repeatedly changed addresses since the khat ban has taken into effect for fear of attacks of drug cartels.
The development comes after Somali Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan told Daily Nation newspaper last week that Mr Munya’s visit to Hargeisa in July had caused political pressure back in Somalia to have the trade stopped.
“He linked the territorial integrity of the country to the miraa trade and interfered in the internal affairs of the country,” he said.
Khat, stimulant narcotic leaves is largely transported to Somalia by neighbouring countries was estimated to be worth $100 million to the Kenyan economy while it counts over £160m a year for Ethiopia alone, making the drug its fourth largest export.
With over 20 million users in horn of Africa, the stimulant green leaves that produce a sense of euphoria in users become a major business export for khat farmers that turned their once agricultural farms into drug lands.
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