Somalia President bans Kenyan planes ferrying miraa into country

Somalia President Mohammed Farmajo with President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Photo: Citizen TV]

The Somalia government has dealt a huge blow on miraa farmers from Kenya after suspending landing of planes ferrying the commodity into Somali from Kenya.

Sources say that the order was issued by Somalia President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo citing that this will only be resolved by Kenya allowing passenger flights from Somalia into her airports.

“Khat flights will resume when Kenya allows commercial passenger flights to and from #Somalia, according to govt sources. I’m told @M_Farmaajo personally made the order. Not exactly a ban, but close because Kenya will act tough for some time – time without khat in our streets,” M. Mubarak stated in a tweet.

This now means that Ethiopia will remain the largest exporter of miraa in Somali.

“Time without Kenyan khat, because Ethiopian khat is allowed into the country. It’s because they allow commercial passenger flights to and from Somalia,” he added.

A fortnight ago, Kenya cleared 17 countries to fly into its airspace ahead of the resumption of international flights which kicked off on August 1.

However, her neighbours whose epidemiological situation is seemingly alarming with COVID-19 pandemic were left out from the list. Among them are Somalia and the neighbouring Tanzania whose passenger flights are not allowed into the Kenyan airspace.

Transport CS James Macharia added that the rate of communal infection in China, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Uganda, France, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Switzerland, US, France, UK, and Morocco is low which poses no threat to Kenya.

Last week, Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority suspended Kenya Airways from flying into its airports on what it termed as a “reciprocal” move.

 “The Authority regrets to inform you that, on a reciprocal basis, the Tanzanian Government has decided to nullify its approval for Kenya Airways flights between Nairobi and Dar/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar effective August 1, 2020 until further notice,” Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hamza said in a statement.

The stalemate is however yet to be solved with Kenya saying that her decision was misrepresented.