A local human rights body in Kwale County has asked the police to scale up the war against illicit drugs and bootleg liquor in the region.
Human Rights Agenda (HURIA) says men have been abandoning their families and spending most of their time in the consumption of the illicit brews made in unhygienic conditions posing danger to users.
HURIA community and Partnership Engagement Officer Mwinyihaji Ali Chamosi said the illicit brew locally consumed in dens referred to as ‘Mangweni’ and drug and substance abuse was to blame for many social ills.
Chamosi expressed concern that the majority of the youth in the area were dependent on illicit drugs and imbibed bootleg beer, a scenario he said wasted their productive years instead of being meaningfully engaged in national building endeavours.
He said the strong inclination of local men to excessive drinking of the traditional brew was having a negative impact on social economic activities in the area.
“The same is to blame for widespread poverty since the productive members of the society spent their useful time on drinking the brews,” he said.
He called on the police and area chiefs and their assistants to lead the war against the sale and consumption of illicit brews at the local level.
Sauti ya Wanawake chairlady Mwanakombo Jarumani has also expressed concern that men have abdicated their social and parental responsibilities due to the overindulgence in illicit brews.
Jarumani noted that men have taken to the habit of drinking illicit brews which she said was leading to many family breakups.
She blamed the increase in defilement, rape, sodomy and incest cases in the region on the wanton use of local brews and drug and substance abuse.
She noted that incidents could be high but some family members do not report such social vices for fear of reprisals while others want to prevent a breakdown of social fabric.
“Most men partake in drinking sprees of local brews and reduced to zombies and the same can be seen in the decline in economic activities of addicted individuals,” she said.
She said it is women who toil to provide for their families and bear the heavy burden of upbringing their children while men have pitched tents in drinking dens taking brews.
“Women and children have no one to fend and provide for them and wallow in abject poverty,” said Jarumani adding that the situation was increasing poverty levels in many households.
They were speaking on Thursday at a community engagement forum held at the Kwale Action Centre and attended by several civil society activists.
Contacted for comment County Police Commander Steve Oloo put on notice those dealing in the manufacture of illicit brews that their days were numbered observing that the bootleg beer trade was fueling crime in the area.
“We warn people selling illicit beer to stop doing so or face the full force of the law and have their merchandise confiscated and destroyed” he said.
He asked wananchi to notify the police of any suspicious activities in their localities and urged them to join hands in fighting drug abuse and bootleg beer.
By Hussein Abdullahi