Meru Governor Peter Munya has said he fears for his life following a report that he orchestrated the ban of miraa in Somalia.
Munya believes his “hard stance against manipulative miraa cartels” has also contributed immensely to his life being at risk.
Speaking at Mituntu Health Centre in Tigania West, Meru County, Munya said an activist, Ntai wa Nkuraru, was killed several years back by the cartels over his vocal campaigns to streamline the business.
A report published in the Daily Nation Tuesday evening stated that the Somali government imposed a ban on miraa imports from Kenya because Governor Munya had “used the business to campaign for the breakup of the country.”
According to the Nation, in July, Mr Munya had travelled to Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland, to lobby for easier trade rules for miraa exporters in Kenya in exchange for some form of recognition for Somaliland.
“He linked the territorial integrity of the country to the miraa trade and interfered in the internal affairs of the country. This has created a lot of unbearable pressure on the government. We have suspended the trade to have these matters addressed,” Somali Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan was quoted by the Nation as saying.
While there, Mr Munya met Somaliland top leadership.
Mogadishu said Mr Munya’s reported comments on the probable independence of Somaliland angered officials and politicians keen to have one united Somalia, reported the Nation.
The governor has however refuted the claims, saying: “truth about why miraa market was suspended in Somalia is being withheld.”
“Trade relations between states are a function of the national government, and not county governments. Actually, I went to Somalia to assist in negotiating for better deals for miraa traders. I am shocked that I am being linked to the ban on miraa. Everyone knows that Somalia temporarily suspended planes carrying miraa to Mogadishu because of a convention set to take place in the capital,” said Munya.
“The claims have put my life at risk. I fear the cartels would come for me. The gang should leave me alone.”
Munya says his political foes in Meru “met the Somali Ambassador to Kenya to orchestrate a statement that would paint him in bad light before his constituents.”
Munya adds “the same political enemies had lost influence in the region and are now seeking relevance by preparing ground for Deputy President William Ruto who is set to visit the region later September.”
On Monday, Somalia announced it would no longer allow flights from Kenya carrying miraa, most of which is grown in Meru County.
Somalia, nonetheless, maintains her leadership will discuss the issue with the relevant Kenyan authorities to find an amicable solution.
Report by Martin Mwenda.