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Gatundu women protest rise in illicit brews abuse

By Mathew Ndungu
Monday, January 25th, 2021
In summary

Women from Ng’enda ward in Gatundu South constituency have protested the rise in illicit brew production and consumption in the area.

Protesting on Saturday followed the death of five people — aged between 22 and 40 years — within a span of two week, the women raised alarm that if nothing is urgently done to reverse the trend, more deaths could be witnessed in the future.

The five reportedly died after drinking the brews believed to have been laced with industrial chemicals.

The women feared that “a generation could be lost” after many youths in the area took to the outlawed drinks, some due to joblessness and depression.

They lamented that if nothing is urgently done to reverse the trend, more deaths could be witnessed.

Led by Mary Wanjiru, they said men have been disposing of household wares and appliances, farm produce and other valuables to get money for the drinks.

The protesters claimed the brews are hawked from as early as 6am as they accused area chiefs of abetting the business.

“When we complain to authorities, a few law offenders are arrested and later released without charges being preferred against them. Unless our police and local administrators are changed, the brews will continue killing our men,” said Wanjiru.

The drinks are reported to have caused the death of the five is chang’aa and ‘Kana’, an alcohol brand sold in the area.

Sarah Juma who says had travelled from Western Kenya to Gatundu in search of a husband but now regrets her action. “You can hardly find a responsible man here.”

The women accused their men of abandoning their parental responsibilities.

Kiambu County Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndichu — whose nephew died drinking the illicit brews and was buried on Saturday — castigated the local administration for abetting the menace.

“Chiefs, there is something terribly wrong. Enough is enough and we will engage even the President to find a solution for this,” he said during the burial.

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