Kenya

Khat thrives in independent Somaliland

Posted on September 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

SomalilandHere's a telling irony. We think of Somalia as a country that has basically had no functioning government for over a generation, and is beset by insurgents linked to al-Qaeda. Certainly, how a government treats a relatively harmless psychoactive herb is a good barometer of its general commitment to freedom. The herb in question here is khat, the mildly stimulating leaf that is chewed socially throughout the Horn of Africa. And we've noted how even the weak "official" government in Somalia has been cracking down on khat in a bid to appease the Shabaab insurgents.

Somalia overturns ban of khat imports

Posted on September 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

khatSomalia on Sept. 13 agreed to lift its recently imposed ban on imports of the mildly psychoactive leaf khat after an outcry of protest from angry cultivators in neighboring Kenya. The decision was announced at a summit of East African leaders in the Somali capital, Mogadishu—the first such gathering in 40 years in the war-torn region. While it is widely chewed in Somalia, khat (also called miraa) is grown in Kenya and Ethiopia, where large farming communities rely on exports for their livelihoods. Reversal of the ban is apparently effective immediately. Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed said at the summit, "The leaders have discussed relations between the two countries and...the Miraa ban will be lifted by September 14th."

British khat ban sparks Kenya backlash

Posted on July 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

khatThe United Kingdom's ban on possession, sale and importing of khat took effect at the end of June, officially making the midly stimulating leaf a restricted Class C drug—despite the counsel of the government's own advisors who had been appointed to study the proposed ban, and recommended against it. Unlike cannabis, khat cannot be easily grown in the UK, and must be consumed fresh to have any effect. Before the ban, over a thousand tons were flown in annually from East Africa and distributed from warehouses near Heathrow airport—in 2013 around £15 million worth (that's $25 million) was imported from Kenya. That trade is now going to end or be driven underground—costing the UK millions of pounds in tax revenues. Critics say the ban will also further criminalize African and Arab immigrant communities in Britain, who traditionally chew the leaf. (The Economist, June 28; ITV, June 27)

Seeing patterns, from Colombia to Cape Town

Africa and the War on DrugsFor those who have been wondering what the truth is behind the media sensationalism about global cartels establishing Africa as their new theater of operations, Africa and the War on Drugs  by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig (Zed Books, London, 2012) clears the air in a welcome way.

The authors, a pair of British academics, portray a strategy by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to hype the threat and replicate the hardline policies pursued in Latin America and elsewhere on the African continent. Drug trafficking has definitely been growing in Africa in recent years—ironically, the authors argue, as a result of "successes" in Latin America. As the old cartels and their smuggling routes were broken up, new more fragmented networks have sought new routes and markets. This conveniently coincided with South Africa's reintegration to the world economy after the end of apartheid, and more generally with Africa's globalization.

US expands Drug War to Africa

Posted on July 29th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

The New York Times reported July 21 that the US has begun training an elite unit of counternarcotics police in Ghana, and planning similar units in Nigeria and Kenya—part of an effort to combat the Latin American cartels that are increasingly using Africa to traffic cocaine to Europe. The decision comes despite controversy over a similar program in Central America. "We see Africa as the new frontier in terms of counterterrorism and counternarcotics issues," said Jeffrey P. Breeden, chief of the DEA's Europe, Asia and Africa section. "It's a place that we need to get ahead of — we’re already behind the curve in some ways, and we need to catch up."

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