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Ignorance of Chief’s Act slowing war against illicit brew in North Rift

The inability to comprehend provisions of the Chiefs Act among chiefs and their assistants in the North Rift region has been identified as a major challenge slowing down the war to stamp out illicit brews in the area.

Addressing National Government Administrative Officers at Kapsabet Boys High School Sports Ground, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Dr. Abdi Hassan revealed that most chiefs were ignorant of powers given to them by the law and how to enforce the same to curb illicit brews and other outlawed substances in their jurisdictions.

Hassan regretted that chiefs and their assistants were under the mistaken impression that the Chiefs Act was repealed during constitutional review and that they did not have adequate powers to deal with illicit brews in their locations.

The Regional Commissioner who read parts of the Chiefs Act to more than 400 chiefs and their assistants present, said that the powers given to them are backed by the law and that they should use the instrument of the law to end consumption of illicit liquor in Nandi County.

“I understand the Chiefs Act empowers chiefs to issue orders perceived necessary with the aim of restoring sanity within their areas, including how to eliminate consumption of illicit brews in their locations,” Hassan said.

He encouraged chiefs to download the Chiefs Act online so that they could read, understand and internalise their mandate while carrying out government administrative functions.

The regional commissioner asked chiefs and their assistants to observe the highest level of discipline and shun corruption while exercising their duties in order to help achieve the government agenda.

“You will not succeed in your efforts to end illicit brews in your area of work if you are part of the consumer or an agent who frustrates government efforts by taking bribes,” he warned.

Commissioner Hassan said that chiefs who demonstrate the highest level of integrity backed by full knowledge of the Chiefs Act have always succeeded in their work.

Dr. Hassan tasked chiefs and their assistants with leading exemplary lives in the line of duty and home development in order for them to earn respect among the locals.

He said they are looking into the challenges Nandi County is facing in fighting illicit brews including the court’s new direction requiring government chemists to verify impounded brews in government labs.

Hassan admitted that the lack of a government chemist in North Rift and the process of proving whether the impounded substance meets the courts definition of illicit brew were frustrating efforts to end illegal brew trade in the region.

Further, the Regional Commissioner asked chiefs to identify, monitor and report the progress of all government projects within their locations.

Nandi County Commissioner Caroline Mueni revealed that chiefs and their assistants were providing lead information in the fight against illicit brews.

Mueni challenged chiefs whose areas remain rated as high consumers of illicit brews to closely work with police and relevant security agencies.

The six Deputy County Commissioners and their Assistant County Commissioners from Nandi County were also present at the meeting that Commissioner Hassan described as monitoring government efforts to end illicit brews and how to overcome emerging challenges.

By Geoffrey Satia

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