Contrary to earlier reports that Somalia’s Federal Government had officially lifted the ban on the importation of khat (miraa) from Kenya, the country’s Finance Minister, Dr. Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh has come out to clarify that the country only lifted the ban on importation of Ethiopia khat.
Speaking in a video posted on his Facebook page, the minister said he was addressing complaints concerning the Ethiopian Khat ‘hareri’ which he said traders will now be allowed to import into the country through any entry point provided proper regulations are followed.
Dr. Beileh was silent on lifting the ban imposed on the importation of the Kenya khat which Somalia had stopped when international flights were suspended last year due to Covid-19.
However, when international air travels resumed, khat importation from Kenya was still restricted and khat from Ethiopia, which a slightly different variety, was allowed in the country.
The prolonged restriction is attributed to a coarse relationship between Kenya and Somalia when in 2016, Meru Governor Peter Munya, currently Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, visited the breakaway Somaliland and offered to have them recognized if they allowed miraa from Kenya into its markets.
Mr. Munya’s statement irked the Somalia Government who then accused him of attempting to break up a country.