By: Sancho Pasha
Somalilandsun - It is estimated that 90% of Somaliland’s adult male population – and about 20% of women – chew khat for mirqaan, the Somali word for the buzz it can give.
In 2014, khat sales generated 20 per cent of the government’s $152m budget, according to the Somaliland Ministry of Finance not to mention that It is the biggest employer in Hargeisa, the capital, generating between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs.
In a country where about 75 per cent of the workforce is jobless, khat is a pillar of the economy writes the New African Magazine adding that for Ethiopia khat is a major earner especially fro. Somaliland which spends about $524m a year – about 30% of GDP, a figure many suspect to be much higher in a piece titled Policing the flowers of paradise.
In the meantime, in Hargeisa “ certainly a less rambunctious city come afternoon where most are amazingly proactive in responding to appointment requests, trying to fix an afternoon meeting does not tend to prove successful a sit is chew time, the negative effects of the stimulant herb known or otherwise tend to be ignored.
Studies have show that chewing Khat has some adverse effects among them Constipation as well as tachycardia, palpitations, increased blood pressure, anorexia, stomatitis, esophagitis, and gastritis
Anaphrodisia is reported frequently by men using khat while Toxicology Khat may cause oral and gastric cancer, cerebral hemorrhage, MI, duodenal ulcers, hypertension, testicular degeneration, low birth-weight infants, and a variety of other severe effects including addiction and the attendant ills.
On the other hand The World Health Organization (WHO) lists khat as a drug that creates “dependence” in people, meaning it produces a continuing desire to keep using , sometimes associating the stimulant use by civilian and military for fueling civil war, draining the nation's economy, and undermining international relief efforts in Somalia.
Globally, in the last two decades, khat, has followed immigrants from the traditional- use regions of the Horn of Africa and the Middle East to Western counties. Many in the West have responded to its debut with the same kind of reaction they had shown to other psychotropic plants in past centuries. Total ban
Back in Somaliland where the practice of chewing “the leaves of a plant which enhances intelligent” goes back several centuries as observed by fifteenth-century Egyptian historian and geographer Althe. Al-Maqrizi (1364–1442), khat is also used recreational drug with the leaves and stem are chewed to elevate mood (as a euphoriant).
Similarly as per the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, the leaf has medicinal values for it alleviates depression, fatigue, obesity, stomach ulcers, and male infertility. It is also used to lower the need for food and sleep, decrease sexual desires, and increase aggression.
Khat can now be regarded as a psychoactive plant taken out of its cultural environment, used in new settings, per- ceived as an object of abuse and targeted for elimination (Carrier, 2007, pp. 195–201; Grayson, 2008, pp. 95–97, 116–124). While khat has yet to cross the line of becoming a new drug of abuse, it has come to a crossroads of either following the course of the mild stimulants such as coffee, tea, and sugar that have now been successfully com-
Is the stimulant herb behind the large number of Schizophrenic chewers who currently fill the religious/traditional healing centers locally known as Ilaaj, poverty and high rate of divorce among many others?
This and many other questions will not cease to circulate though chewing in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa will continue as it has for centuries but in a nutshell is khat an evil plant or useful one?
You decide for yourself from this piece Condensed from various sources but for me a chewer Banned , smuggled or legal it is things as usual
Somaliland: My Time with a Khat Kingpin