Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has ordered security agencies to crack down on illicit brew and hard drugs.
Mr Gachagua, who spoke in Nyeri town during a high-level multisectoral consultative forum on ending illicit brew and substance abuse in the counties of Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, and Nyandarua said the crackdown is urgent.
“You have information on where the illicit brew is prepared. The National Government Administration Officers and police commanders must convene a meeting on Monday and within a week shut down those dens permanently. You must ensure they do not reopen,” the Deputy president said.
Mr Gachagua warned that the government will not entertain officers who will not deliver on this order, which aims to save the region, as the young generation, which mainly indulges in the illicit and second-generation alcohol, risks being wiped out.
The officers will be required to account by showing the number of dens shut down, those arrested and prosecuted, he said. He said no officer should be intimidated in executing this order because such impunity has killed many youths in the past insisting that “nobody in this country is sacred in killing our children”.
The Deputy President also warned that officers protecting unscrupulous dealers will not be spared, adding that only registered dealers will be allowed to operate awaiting reevaluation of their licenses.
“Being in cahoots with sellers of drugs and substances through collection of commissions and tokens shall not be allowed. We must live up to our oath of office and diligently serve the country. We cannot be part of a criminal syndicate in ending illicit brew and substance abuse,” he said.
Mr Gachagua said President William Ruto is deeply concerned that the country is engulfed in alcoholism and substance abuse, with the Central region being the worst hit. It is for this reason, he said, the President Ruto asked him to convene the high-level forum in coming up with strategies of ending the menace.
“This forum is a candid discussion of what ails the region and what we need to do to bring back sanity and order,” the Deputy President said.
This meeting was held against increased consumption of illicit alcohol and substance abuse in the five counties of former Central Kenya Province.
According to the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), alcohol abuse in Central Kenya is a major problem due to high levels of consumption, ease of availability, affordability and accessibility. This ranged from 51.5% in Nyandarua to 75.4% in Kirinyaga. A perception assessment by the authority indicates that more than 80% of people feel second generation alcohol consumption is on the rise.
While counties have licensed outlets to sell legitimate alcohol, some have been distributing illicit brews. In the five counties, there are 12,953 bars, bars and restaurants, and wines and spirits outlets.
The meeting culminated in adoption of a communique, which gives a framework of collaboration between and among the various government agencies in dealing with the menace.
National Administration officials, led by Cabinet Secretary for Interior, Kithure Kindiki, his Health Counterpart Susan Nakhumincha, the five governors and senators, several Members the National Assembly from the region led by the Leader of Majority at the National Assembly Kimani Inchung’wa, the National Police Service under the Inspector General Japheth Koome, the clergy among others.