Khat traders in Mogadishu express fears of trade halt as Kenya heads for polls

Khat traders in Mogadishu have expressed concerns over possible disruption of their business as Kenya which is the main source of the product heads to the polls Tuesday.

The traders said they feared the elections might lead to cancellation of flights or delays in delivering the perishable product which is transported from Kenya to Mogadishu every morning. At least ten flights land in Mogadishu from Nairobi every day transporting the leafy stimulant.

Speaking to Goobjoog News, some of the traders warned of an economic downturn in the coming days as a result of the elections.

‘It will have an adverse effect because we usually support our families with income from miraa (khat) business. There is no other work in town. Missing stock for one day is a big loss to us” said a woman dealer.

Khat imports from Kenya have in the past suffered interruptions ranging from state sanctioned restrictions to differences over pricing. The government banned imports of the product for a week September last year without disclosing reasons adversely affecting traders and consumers in Mogadishu and other parts of the country. However some traders managed to circumvent the aviation decree and transported from Kismayo to Mogadishu.

“It creates a lot unwanted economic fall and makes the business atmosphere stagnant especially our daily bread is affected. The whole town will look closed down” said Hassan, an underhand dealer.

At least 19 million Kenyans will be casting their vote in presidential, parliamentary and state level seats in a hotly contested election pitying the ruling coalition Jubilee and Opposition NASA.

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