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Gachagua to lead Central Kenya to fight against alcohol

The fight against alcoholism in Central Kenya is beginning to take shape with the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua set to hold a meeting with Central Kenya leaders to chart the way forward in addressing the menace.

The meeting which is slated for Friday this week at the residence of the Central Region Commissioner Mr. Frederick Shishia in Nyeri, will bring together elected leaders from the five counties of   Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Nyandarua counties.

Others invited to the consultative forum include the Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, officials from the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) and National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs).

According to Mukurwe-ini Member of Parliament John Kaguchia, the meeting would be the first step in addressing the alcoholism issue that has ravaged the region for years in a bid to find a way out of the challenge.

He noted that in addition to the elected leaders, the meeting would also bring together agencies responsible for licensing of alcohol joints in the region.

Additionally, the MP said that similar conventions were set to take place in Nakuru, Kakamega, Mombasa and Embu counties.

“The Deputy President has clearly mentioned the people he is expecting to see on Friday and the agenda of the meeting has been communicated clearly. The meeting will not only bring together elected leaders, county government and police command, but also anyone involved in the licensing of alcohol in the respective counties,” said Kaguchia in a phone interview.

During Easter Sunday church service at the PCEA Ngorano church in Mathira, the DP noted that the Mount Kenya Region had borne the brunt of illicit brew and drug abuse.

Gachagua, attributed the high rate of drug abuse to the unregulated alcohol selling joints. He said that the situation was dire as the region was at the risk of losing an entire generation to the menace especially in the five central Kenya counties.

“If we don’t act now, an entire generation faces the risk of being wiped out in the next 10 years. The president is equally concerned with this disturbing and sad situation and that is why I have convened a conference bringing together all the region’s leadership and security officers,” said the deputy president in a tweet.

A survey on the Status of Drugs and Substance abuse in Kenya released in March this year during a Governor’s summit showed that 3.1 million Kenyan consume alcohol. The survey showed that Western Kenya topped the list in alcohol abuse in the country at 23.8 per cent, followed by Coast with 13.9 per cent while Central had 12.8 per cent.

However, the survey showed that Central region had the highest prevalence of second generation and portable spirits with prevalence rate of 11.9 per cent. The region also topped in the number of bars opened in the last five years.

“It will be a defining moment whose outcome will have far-reaching implications to save our youth,” added the tweet from Gachagua.

By Wangari Mwangi

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