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Chewing gum made from miraa causes stir

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For the uninitiated, chewing miraa can be a turn-off, coming as it were, with stained teeth caused by munching green leaves and twigs.

For others, the thought of carrying around bundles of leaves and twigs makes chewing miraa a no-go zone.

Rek East Africa Ltd CEO Maore Ithula-a communication expert and agricultural engineer, thought about this long and deep, before coming up with a business idea-a chewing gum made from miraa.

The gum, sold under the brand name Marqan, is manufactured by Rek East Africa Limited and will be sold strictly to buyers above 18.

According to its manufacturer, the invention, whose ingredients include gum base, oils, sugars, miraa, gum Arabica and aspartame, makes chewing miraa easier, more stylish and hygienic.

The invention was guided by technical experts at the food division of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) – a government agency at South C in Nairobi.

But even as Ithula announced that the product was already in the market, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Head of Quality Assurance and Inspection Bernard Nguyo on Tuesday said his department had not issued a standardisation mark for the gum.

Nguyo accused the firm of not following the correct legal procedure to have the new product registered. “Products that have miraa as ingredients are classified as psychotropic substance, whose manufacture and sale is controlled under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act,” said Nguyo. He said Kebs had written to Rek East Africa Ltd in response to its application for registration, insisting that the right legal procedures to guarantee safety must be followed.

However, the firm argues that Kebs should be aware that miraa is a legal crop recognised by the government. Ithula denied that the herb was classified under narcotics or psychotropic substances. “Miraa is grown in Kenya; it is exported and the government recognises it. The law recognises it as a scheduled crop,” said Ithula.

“While still under incubation at Kirdi, we were advised that no license is required any of the many projects. Incubation means that Kirdi midwifes new innovations, and nurtures them by taking care of all infrastructural costs, government levies and licenses, among others,” he added.

The Kirdi Public Relations Office admitted that it helped Ithula come up with the chewing gum. “Marqan chewing gum was incubated and developed in the food technology division of Kirdi and was also linked to Kebs for certification,” said the organisation through its Sarah Gacii.

Even with the safety concerns raised by Kebs, the chewing gum is already retailing in Eastleigh, Nairobi, one of the largest markets of miraa in the country.

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He is a very dangerous man! Sonko’s daughter accuses senator of attempting to kill her

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Lamu Senator Anwar Loitiptip and Saumu Mbuvi, daughter of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, have announced their separation following wrangles and disagreement.

The reports were fuelled by photos and videos of Senator Loitiptip hanging out with a female friend.

Saumu, on Instagram, announced that the two have separated, claiming that she has undergone domestic violence under Loitiptip.

“These are the things he did to me,” wrote Saumu, in one of her photos showing a swollen face and bruised lips.

“He almost killed me. I will forever fight for women to stand for their rights. Never allow a man to be violent to you.”

She also claimed that the senator had neglected their child, leaving Saumu as the primary caregiver.

Loitiptip told Kenyans.co.ke that Saumu shared her father’s traits and was suffering from bipolar disorder, threatening to expose her past to prove his claim.

The two have been dating for months and at one point planned to get married. However, Sonko’s daughter clarified that the two had split before officiating their union.

“Wedding date confirmed,” she captioned a picture of herself and the senator in June 2020.

Her previous relationship with businessman cum politician Ben Gatu also ended after she accused him of being violent.

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US raises alarm over Covid-19 cases surge in Tanzania

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The US government has revealed that there are significant cases of Covid-19 in Tanzania.

This is just a week after it advised its citizens against travelling to the East African country.

“The US Embassy is aware of a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases since January 2021,” the Embassy said.

In a Health alert, the US said the practice of Covid-19 mitigation and prevention measures remains limited.

The Tanzanian government has not released aggregate numbers on Covid-19 cases or deaths since April 2020.

“Healthcare facilities in Tanzania can become quickly overwhelmed in a healthcare crisis. Limited hospital capacity throughout Tanzania could result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care,” US said.

The Department of State’s travel advisory level for Tanzania is Level 3.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that travellers should avoid all travel to Tanzania.

The Embassy continues to recommend that all individuals take caution in day-to-day activities.

President John Magufuli assured the 58 million inhabitants that they need not worry about observing Covid-19 preventative measures.

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Siwachii wezi! Uhuru vows not to leave the country to thieves in 2022

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday made a surprising stop to lecture Nairobi residents after finishing his engagement at the National Cargo Deconsolidation Centre (NCDC-Nairobi).

The Head of State said he was angry at Nairobians for being against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill stating that the report has given Nairobi more constituencies.

“If we have a BBI that says the people of Nairobi will have more constituencies and if it’s bursaries a child in Mathare who today receives Ksh500, how will that child study up to university level,” President Kenyatta said.

“But there is another child who gets Ksh100,000 in Busury per year is that right?… BBI is not for helping Raila or Uhuru it is for you,” he continued.

Uhuru went on to disclose that he has no plans to rule after his term is over and his interest is in finishing the job that Kenyans elected him to do.

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