DP’s order on Mt Kenya bars
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has vowed not to relent in the fight against alcoholism in Mt Kenya region.
He said alcoholism has taken a toll on young men in the region and poses the risk of wasting away an entire generation.
Speaking in Murang’a when he graced a bursary awarding ceremony by the county government, the Deputy President said he will not sit back and watch as people die after consuming lethal drinks .
“The situation is getting out of control and we have to act quickly to save our sons from wasting away,” he remarked.
The DP urged local administration officers to up their game in the fight and ensure they eradicate illicit brews.
Dying every day
“We shall not accept a situation where our young people are dying every day because of consuming alcohol and it’s a situation we can change,” said Rigathi.
“I know you had been engaged in politics; that’s why things got that bad but now you have to ensure you fight this menace,” he added. Further, the DP urged all the county governments in the area not to renew some licences for bar operators, saying this is the only way to stem the vice.
“There are many bars and the majority have been breaking the law, increasing accessibility of alcohol” he added.
He said the revenue collected from the permits cannot be equated to the lives of people who are dying due to alcoholism, adding that there are many sectors where counties can derive revenue from.
“You can get revenue and build roads but there will be no people to use them and thus the need to safeguard lives” he added
Murang’a Governor Irungu Kang’ata said alcoholism threatened to cripple the education sector with the large number of youths being addicted.
He said the county would subject the applications for the bar operators to thorough vetting before renewing their licenses.
“We will slash down the numbers to a reasonable figure and weed out the ones who don’t meet the requirements,” he said.
Maragua MP Mary Waithira noted that alcoholism has been a thorn in the flesh of local residents and has wrecked many families. “Fathers and their sons have been trapped in alcoholism. This is not a good thing for the society,” she said.
The county disbursed Sh150 million bursaries to needy students in the area. The Deputy President also donated Sh1 million to sponsor orphaned children.
Murang’a County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo had raised similar concerns, saying the youth, both men and women, were overindulging in alcohol
“We have done a lot of work to fight illicit brews; the challenge is the substandard alcohol that is certified by relevant government agents. That has made the fight very difficult”, said Ngumo.
The county, he added, has over 2,200 licensed bars, noting that he has liaised with the governor to revoke licences that allow outlets to operate for 24 hours. Bars established in private compounds without ‘change of use’ procedures will also be closed down as they encourage alcoholism, he said. “Years ago, bars used to be in trading centres only. One had to decide whether to go drink or not. I am, however, lucky I have a co-operative governor,” he said.
During the ceremony, Gachagua was accompanied by various leaders including Senator Joe Nyutu, Woman Representative Betty Maina and MPs Joseph Munyoro (Kigumo) and Erick Mumbi of Mathira.