Support Gachagua’s narcotics, alcohol fight

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 10:00 | By
Gachagua fires back at Uhuru's 'looking at rearview mirror' remarks
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during a past function. PHOTO/Rigathi Gachagua(@rigathi)/X

Four weeks ago, I questioned in this column whether Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua had given up on the fight against drug abuse and alcoholism and if as a country we were losing that war altogether.

Unfortunately, on the same day I penned my concerns, reports of illicit alcohol killing 17 residents of a village in Kirinyaga hit the headlines.

Since assuming office as Kenya’s second-in-command, Gachagua has boldly identified himself with the fight against alcoholism and narcotics.

In fact, the Deputy President’s spouse, Pastor Dorcas, has come up with a programme through which she seeks to rehabilitate and mentor addicts. Very commenable.

Until the Kirinyaga debacle, there was a growing perception that the State had abandoned its initial intention to fight the vice in the whole country and that Gachagua had restricted the crusade to his Mt Kenya backyard.

While that may not have been the case, Gachagua is back. In fact, in his element, breathing fire and brimstone.

The one thing he now needs most is the support of each and everyone of us. The war against narcotics and alcoholism does not need to be defined as an individual crusade for Gachagua to convene or personal gospel for him to spread. We all must actively join in this national calling.

On Monday, Gachagua opened and stayed throughout a day-long brainstorming session for political, administrative and religious leaders from the Coast region.

He struck the right cords and made the relevant noises – including threats to sack incompetent State oficers who abet the menace. As did Interior CS Kithure Kindiki, his Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo and Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome.

As I stated recently, Nairobi, is the worst hit part of the country. Sale and consumption of drugs and alcohol are done openly, day and night. Unhygienic shebeens dot the county’s populated estates with both the county and national governments missing in action. Where a law enforcer is seen, it is to collect bribes.

In schools, institutions of higher learning, parks, streets, villages, social and entertainment joints and open public places, the habits are brazenly practiced.

Night clubs have been established in residential buildings all over Nairobi. I still insist that to conquer narcotics and alcoholism in Kenya, the war must begin and be won in Nairobi first.

Gachagua must push the County Government of Nairobi to join the fight against drugs and illicit liquor. The leadership of Kenya’s capital city has remained silent on this matter, in spite of pleas by residents.
The National Authority on the Campaign Against Drugs Abuse (Nacada) was established to deal with the drugs and the alcohol challenges.

During the Monday meeting in Mombasa, leaders accused Nacada of lack of commitment in its responsibilities and even disagreed with the findings of a survey it presented there regarding the prevalence of narcotics in the Coast region.

Nacada has to make its presence felt.
The immediate former Board of Nacada was composed of highly educated people. However, very little came from those top-notch minds to help in addressing the problem in Kenya. If anything, the problem rose higher than ever before.

What is more, Nacada employees earn from taxpayers. Nacada must serve all Kenyans.
It is within Nacada’s purview to fight consumption of narcotics and imbibing of dangerous alcohol as well as educate Kenyans on the ramifications of doing so.

Needless to say, the State agency is not doing its work effectively. More needs to be seen and heard from Nacada.

Meanwhile, let every other person and institution in Kenya join the Deputy President in confronting this monster. We all have some contribution to give in this war. We must.

—The writer is the Revise Editor, People Daily —[email protected]

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