A multi-agency team has been formed to crack down on rampant illicit brewing and drug abuse in Uasin Gishu County.
Leaders from the county led by the County Commissioner Dr Eddyson Nyale, Governor Jonathan Bii, and the county woman Representative Gladys Shollei raised concern over the high incidences of illicit brewing and consumption as well as drug abuse among the youth and vowed to work closely to rid the county of the menace.
Speaking in Eldoret during this year’s Mashujaa day celebrations, Nyale said the national government will work closely with the county government and other players including the national chamber of commerce and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers to deal with the issue of alcoholism.
“We are not going to wait until people die or go blind as a result of illicit alcohol that the brewers sometimes add formalin and ethanol that is harmful to human health,” said the CC.
“We have already organized raids to notorious illicit brewing and consumption areas such as Kingongo, Spain, Huruma, Langas, and Kamkunji where we have dealt with notorious brewers as per the law,” he added.
However, Shollei said chiefs and police were squarely to blame for failing to deal decisively with the breweries alleging that the two law enforcers collude with the brewers because they receive bribes from them.
“Chief and the police know where the brewers are, but they cannot arrest them because they are bribed. It is time wananchi effect citizens arrests on corrupt chiefs and police just like they did during the first term of former President Mwai Kibaki’s time,” said the woman Rep.
“We should read the riot act on chiefs, police, and village elders who collect bribes from illicit alcohol brewers and drug sellers, and put them on notice that citizens will arrest and present them to the law,” she added.
She was reacting to concerns raised by the NACADA County Director Ms. Eunice Arubai on rampant brewing and consumption of illegal alcohol as well as drug abuse.
Arubia urged the county leadership to look for an alternative source of income that the brewers could engage in instead of the alcohol business.
Shollei at the same time asked Governor Bii to reign on county askaris who confiscate goods from hawkers and mama mboga, saying this amount to ‘killing’ the individuals since the little they have spent on the goods might be all they had and confiscating them was not right.
In his remarks, the county governor expressed similar sentiments to the Woman Rep saying there has been laxity among security enforcers against brewers, and also rooted for citizens’ arrest of corrupt law enforcers.
He however said the national government and the county governments have funds that those engaged in the brewing can access to start an alternative business.
He at the same time directed that all bars within residential areas will have their licenses cancelled, saying the alcohol business operators had no legal right to encroach on the rights of other people in residential areas where bars were not allowed.
By Kiptanui Cherono