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Kenya: “Shisha” Sellers Oppose Government Ban

After Rwanda, Kenya in turn banned the sale and consumption of shisha for health reasons. However, sellers of this product refuse to accept this prohibition.

 

Fifteen vendors filed a lawsuit seeking the lifting of the ban on shisha. In a petition filed Friday in the High Court, the petitioners, through their lawyer Eric Matundura, claim that the secretary of the Health Cabinet, Cleopa Mailu, exceeded his powers by banning the product. They say this decision is biased and discriminatory.

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“Shisha is a tobacco product, just like cigarettes. We expected the Health Cabinet to order the consumption of shisha in some places, “said Matundura.

He also noted that stakeholders in the shisha sector had not been consulted prior to the implementation of the ban, adding that Mailu had violated the provisions of the Law on Statutory Instruments that oblige public bodies to consult stakeholders likely to be affected by political decisions.

“Stakeholders have never been consulted; there was no form of public participation. The regulations adopted by the Health Cabinet are wrong and we hope that the court will agree with us that it acted outside the law and that the legal notice can not be maintained “, he adds.

On Thursday, the government in a legal opinion banned the import, manufacture, advertising and sale of shisha in Kenya. And anyone who breaks the law will be liable to a fine of up to 50,000 shillings or imprisonment for up to six months or both.

The parties concerned will be back in court next Thursday.

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