Change tack in war against illicit brews, State told

Thursday, February 29th, 2024 01:27 | By
Murang’a County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha when he led other administrators to inspect counterfeit alcohol seized during a crackdown, on Tuesday. PHOTO/Wangari Njuguna
Murang’a County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha when he led other administrators to inspect counterfeit alcohol seized during a crackdown. PHOTO/Wangari Njuguna

Clerics Murang’a want the government to expedite a new approach in the fight against illicit brews and alcoholism in the Central region.

The leaders, under an umbrella group dubbed Mulika Initiative Forum, which draws members from the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) have faulted the methods being used to fight alcoholism.

They noted that corruption is fuelling the menace, saying liquor licensing bodies are being compromised to issue permits allowing selling of substandard liquor.

Co-ordinator of Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Nairobi branch Simon Muiruri said efforts should be directed at the sources of the substandard and illicit brews.

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting in Murang’a, Muiruri said the act of destroying liquor impounded from shelves will not have a long-term solution and asked the government to actively involve the church in the fight against alcoholism and drugs. “Our youths are greatly affected by alcoholism.

Unemployment also pushes them to abuse alcohol and drugs. As a forum we ask the government to check how to address the matter effectively,” added Muiruri.

Mulika Initiative forum, he said, is following up to ensure monies sent to counties are well utilised, saying corruption deals are mostly done at the procurement department.

“As a watchdog forum, we are working to ensure funds meant for devolved administration are prudently used and we will be having meetings with the county government of Murang’a to find out how allocated funds have been utilised,” Muiruri noted.

Corrupt means

“Secondly county governments have the responsibility of licensing liquor outlets and we have information that some of the licenses are issued through corrupt means. We want this to stop and those operating bars illegally be stopped,” noted Muiruri.

Central region Supkem chairman Shaban Bakari said a large number of local young men have been reduced to zombies by alcoholism.

“Our region is greatly affected by excessive alcoholism and this puts the future of our young people in a precarious situation. We want the government to fully engage the community, religious among other stakeholders in the fight against the menace,” Bakari said.

Meanwhile, a multi-agency team in Murang’a has impounded thousands of litres of substandard illicit liquor and arrested 583 suspects. County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha said the security team also seized materials such as ethanol which is used to manufacture alcohol.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Nkanatha said they have made big strides since the directive was issued two weeks ago, noting they have combed all parts of the county to crack down on those behind the illegal business.

The operation was conducted in conjunction with other State agencies such as Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Agency and Government Chemist.

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