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CS Balala Makes Unexpected announcement on Shisha Ban

The Tourism and Wildlife CS made the unexpected announcement on Monday morning.

Speaking at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa Balala said the shisha ban was miscalculated.

The CS further said that the embargo and closing of clubs will hurt the Kenyan economy.

“You do your job, we will support; but you don’t wake up overnight and ban shisha or start closing clubs. The whole world has shisha, why ban it in Kenya? If we have issues of health, put a tax. Why don’t you ban cigarettes? Why don’t you ban alcohol? I am not a smoker so I am not defending shisha smokers,” Balala posed.

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He instead said that shisha should be taxed to generate more revenue.

Public Health Act

The Ministry of Health last month banned all importation, manufacture and sale of shisha and warned that those found selling the drug would be will be liable for punishment under section 163 of Public Health Act.

Earlier this month, the High Court ruled that the ban remained illegal.

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Justice Roseline Aburili declined to suspend the ban saying there is a "lesser risk" in maintaining the ban.

Aburili said that where there are losses to the shisha business or employment the loss can be quantified and subjected scrutiny so that compensation can be made by way of damages in legal proceedings.

Businessmen petition

Several Kenyan businessmen had moved to court to challenge the ban on the importation, promotion and the use of Shisha in the country.

The businessmen claim that the CS did not consult them or involve the public before reaching the decision.

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According to them, the notice by the CS is erroneous and it contravenes the constitution. The applicants also say it is discriminative.

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