Wakiso District growers of khat, referred to locally as mairungi or Miraa, on Monday went to the Constitutional Court seeking orders de-categorizing the crop. They want it categorized as a vegetable, not a narcotic drugs.
The farmers under their umbrella organization Wakiso Miraa Growers and Dealers Association Ltd want restraining orders against the Minister of Internal Affairs from imposing a ban on growing and selling mairungi under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015.
The farmers claim they have done enough laboratory research and experiments and came to a conclusion that mairungi is not a narcotic drug but rather a vegetable and a herb used to cure a series of ailments.
They now want court to order government categorize and declare mairungi as one of the cash crops grown in this country in addition to coffee, cotton and tea, adding that it’s a major source of livelihood to many families.
They also want court to issue a temporary order stopping the continued raids on their homes and gardens by police until the final hearing and determination of this case.
According to Ugandan law, a person in possession of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not less than five hundred currency points (Sh10m) or three times the market value of the drug or to imprisonment not less than two years, but not exceeding ten years, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Security authorities in Uganda have on several occasions destroyed mairungi worth billion shillings in a move to crack down on illegal sale and consumption of drugs.