Miraa transporters are on the police radar over human and drug trafficking, Meru County Commissioner Allan Machari has said.
The drivers have also been accused of ferrying smuggled goods. According to Mr Machari, several vehicles transporting the crop have been intercepted while engaging in the crimes.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have intercepted several vehicles ferrying unauthorised people into Meru while others have come here in the name of miraa trade. Some also come back with illegal guns and drugs.”
“We want to work with miraa traders to ensure the law breakers are reported to the authorities,” Mr Machari said.
He urged the traders to monitor their vehicles from Mandera, Wajir and other parts of the country to ensure they are not used for illegal trade.
Mr Machari said residents can use the ‘Mulika Uhalifu’ SMS platform that allows anyone to report incidents anonymously.
Addressing miraa traders in Maua town on Wednesday, the county commissioner said enforcement of speed limits for vehicles transporting miraa had commenced on all roads in Meru County.
“Miraa is not exempted from the traffic rules on speed limit. From now on, you will have to obey traffic rules. We are deploying speed guns and any driver caught speeding will not be spared,” Mr Machari said.
The directive comes few days after a video showed a speeding miraa vehicle run over a speed bump in a dare devil stunt.
However, the directive on adhering to speed limit caused an uproar among miraa traders.
They argued that the crop is highly perishable and reducing the speed of the vehicles transporting it would lead to huge losses.
The traders also rejected a proposal to use refrigerated vehicles saying refrigeration affects the quality of miraa.
“The directive to drive miraa vehicles at normal speed is not easy to implement. We can only assure that we will slow down in towns and markets,” Mr Mahmoud Hussein, a trader said.
Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri however accused the county commissioner of profiling transporters.
He said the police were relying on a ‘doctored video showing a miraa vehicle speeding’ to declare the crackdown.
“We accept that the law must be applied and we are not an exception. Our drivers understand the traffic rules and anyone found breaking the law should be dealt with. However, there are no statistics showing miraa vehicles are linked to accidents on the road,” Mr Munjuri said.
But Mr Machari maintained that there will be no relaxing of the law and asked the miraa traders to put their house in order.
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