When shisha was banned by former health CS Cleopa Mailu, many people were unhappy.
Shisha, just like alcohol had become a part of the Kenyan culture. There was no bar that was complete without shisha, it was a norm and then all of a sudden it was banned for God knows what reason. According to the tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, the shisha ban was not well planned and was miscalculated.
The CS accused the National Environment Management Authority of pretence saying it is closing clubs but not really regulating any issues. Many people have been questioning the sudden need to ban shisha while cigarettes still exist.
Here is what Najib Balala had to say about the ban:
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.
He spoke at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa while responding to questions by MPs during a three-day induction retreat for the National Assembly Committee on Sports, Tourism and Culture.