Amuru, Uganda |URN | Leaders in Amuru district are bothered by the continuous sale of Khat (mairungi) at the Elegu border post which they say could spoil the relationship between Uganda and South Sudan.
Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub often chewed with gum. Khat consumers according to the World Health Organization (WHO) can suffer a number of complications including tuberculosis, anemia and impotence.
Currently, there is no clear law barring the sale of mairungi in Uganda but in South Sudan, the growing and sale of Khat is illegal.
Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner says he has received several complaints from leaders in South Sudan asking the Ugandan government to ban the sale of the leaf.
He says South Sudanese leaders say the continuous sale of the drug in Uganda is interfering with their efforts to totally abolish the drug in their country.
How smuggling of Khat into South Sudan is done
According to Oceng, several individuals use porous borders to smuggle the drug across the border to South Sudan. He adds that several people have been arrested and charged in South Sudan for the crime, but many have continued to operate.
Swaib Chadribo, a dealer in the drug at Elegu says in most cases, it’s the South Sudanese dealers who cross the borders to come and buy and not them as Ugandans who go to the other side.
According to Chadribo, the South Sudanese authorities should be more vigilant and effect the arrest of the illegal dealers in their country and stop interfering with their business in Uganda.
Michael Lakony, the LC V chairperson of Amuru district, also a member of the district security committee says they want to hold a meeting at Elegu with the leaders from South Sudan as well as the border management committee so that the use and sale of the drug is eliminated.