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Kenyan lawmakers and business owners contest East leigh raids, citing illegal powdered milk ban

Thursday Feb ,15, 2024 {HMC} A series of government-led raids targeting businesses in Nairobi’s East leigh neighborhood has come under scrutiny, with local business owners and lawmakers challenging their legality. The operations, aimed at combating the trade of allegedly illegal goods such as powdered milk, have resulted in significant financial losses and raised concerns over the violation of national laws.

Local Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan, alongside the East leigh Business Association, has voiced strong opposition to these raids, highlighting the lack of legal basis and the forceful manner in which they were conducted. “Officers, armed and in civilian clothes, forcibly entered shops without identifying themselves or presenting any legal warrants,” Hassan reported, emphasizing the operations’ disregard for legal protocols.

 

The controversy reached a crescendo yesterday when business owners, supported by Hassan, confronted the officers, leading to a violent clash. In response to these incidents, Hassan has announced plans to pursue legal action, aiming to protect the rights of the affected merchants and challenge the assertion that their trade activities are illegal.

 

Central to the dispute is the sale of powdered milk, a staple product in East leigh’s markets, which the authorities have singled out as contraband. However, Hassan asserts that no current legislation justifies such a ban, suggesting an undisclosed agenda against the product. “Our country is governed by the rule of law, and any prohibitions should have a legal basis,” he stated, calling for transparency and adherence to legal standards.

FILE – Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan during a past function in Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO

The raids have not only sparked legal challenges but also prompted a broader discussion on the relationship between law enforcement practices and the economic well-being of communities. Ahmed Sheikh Abdullahi ‘Xaaji Yare,’ chairman of the Somali Business Association in East leigh, condemned the raids as “unlawful and against Kenyan law,” pledging to take every necessary measure to oppose this perceived injustice.

 

The controversy surrounding the government raids in Nairobi’s East leigh neighbourhood may partly stem from the Kenya Dairy Board’s earlier move to stop the importation of powdered milk. This policy was implemented to boost the local agricultural sector by giving Kenyan farmers better access to the market for their milk products. However, this decision has led to legal entanglements, highlighted by recent prosecutions on the possession and transportation of the now-banned powdered milk.

Source 

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