Somali community rejects Kenyan delegates lobbying for legality of khat in UK
By Abukar Awale ( qaaddiid )
November 17, 2013
While the UK prepares to ban khat in line with the rest of the western world, it appears that Kenyan taxpayers are being asked to pay for a group of lobbyists’ all expenses paid trip to the UK, ostensibly seeking to overturn the khat ban at the High Court. I understand that the amount earmarked for this arduous task is something in the region of ten million Kenyan shillings, or roughly seventy thousand pounds sterling.
For the moment, I’ll try to ignore the brazen nature of this attempt to overturn a decision taken by a sovereign government in the best interests of its own citizens. My immediate thoughts were more along the lines of how much of a catastrophic waste of money this is and how badly that money would be needed for more benevolent purposes within Kenya itself, a beautiful country where millions live in abject poverty. I always ask those who defend the khat / drug trade if it would not be better to grow food instead. I’m yet to hear a sound argument against this basic, more moral proposition. Meru leaders in Kenya argue that the khat ban will at a stroke cast the entire county into poverty as well. But of course, we all know that the the real reason for defending this evil trade is that khat is much more lucrative than food and rearing livestock. The human cost of this evil trade is conveniently swept under the carpet by the khat barons, just like any other drug trade.
The local Somali community in Britain takes particular offence to this development, primarily as we have been seen as a vulnerable community with little or no leaders willing to speak up on our behalf. In fact, the only leaders of any kind that spoke out in support of our campaign were the Garissa county community leaders and we thank them for their admirable stance. Now that we have successfully campaigned against the import and sale of khat in the UK, we understand that this delegation perhaps demonstrates a sense of desperation by the khat barons. Ironically, the Kenyan government wishes to regulate khat use within its borders whilst simultaneously wishing to expand exports to Somalia exponentially in order to receive greater profits. This hypocrisy will without doubt provide us the motivation to redouble our campaign against khat use across the length and breadth of Somalia itself, thereby depriving khat dealers of the regional demand that props up the entire trade.
I would like to reiterate my support for the Home Secretary, Mrs Theresa May, for her sensible decision to ban khat in the United Kingdom. It is my firm conviction as a former khat addict myself, this sends out the strongest message that this drug is a scourge on our society and community. Khat is nothing but a menace to society and once we remove this barrier to integration, as a community will be able to move forward and contribute to wider society.
Abukar Awale ( qaaddiid )
The Lead Anti-khat Campainer
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