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Kibicho warns illicit brewers

The Government has launched a three-month Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) in Central Kenya to contain consumption of illicit brews following reports that many people have either died of alcohol related death or lost their vision.

Interior Principal Secretary (PS), Dr. Karanja Kibicho, warned that the crackdown will be ruthless and will spare no illegal brewer, adding that the government cannot sit back and allow brewers to destroy the youth with illicit brews

Speaking in Thika where he launched a three Month RRI, Kibicho said he was ready to be taken to court like was the case in the previous crackdown, noting that a multi-agency team, consisting of National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO), KRA, NACADA and police officers, will be ruthless.

“We don’t fear being taken to court like the last time when we launched a similar initiative in 2015. If the illicit brewers want to bribe their way, they should look for big money because we know their tricks or have some sort of big strength. We are not starting this fight as a joke. We shall be ruthless this time,” said Kibicho.

The PS said during the period, they have poured over one (1) trillion litres of illicit brew across the country, which would otherwise have destroyed or killed the youth.

Noting that the previous crackdown bore fruits, the PS said cases of people dying due to consumption of illicit brews, has been on the downward, adding that in areas that include Murang’a and Kiambu Counties, women were now getting children unlike before when their husbands had become docile.

“Cases of alcohol related deaths are on the decline since the last crackdown, hardly a month would pass without having people die of alcohol consumption. The cases were even worse in Central Kenya, because men would hardly sire children. However, things have improved,” he said.

He, however, decried gaps in the law that have given county governments the power to license bars, saying some have taken advantage and had started licensing the standardization, exportation and importation of alcohol.

Kibicho said the government is working with parliament to amend those provisions, so as to bring sanity in alcohol brewing and consumption in the Country.

“Since bar issues were devolved to the counties, some county governments have been licensing importers and exporters of alcohol, a role which still belongs to the National Government. Others have been giving bars extra operating hours,” he said.

He was accompanied by Central Regional Commissioner, Wilfred Nyangwanga, NACADA Chair, Mabel Imbuga, Thika Legislator (MP), Patrick Wainaina, among other leaders.

Abuga called on the government to establish rehabilitation centres in the counties, for addicts of the illicit brews, saying the crackdown will leave several youth suffering with withdrawal symptoms.

Wainaina called on the government to provide officers conducting the crackdown with vehicles, to ease their operations.

“They should be provided with vehicles or motorbikes for efficiency in the crackdowns. Some operations are dangerous and need well equipped officers to succeed,” he said.

During the event hundreds of litres of illicit brew were poured and over 10, 000 kgs of bhang and hundreds of gaming machines were destroyed.

By Maureen Kyalo and Muoki Charles

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