Embu residents are divided over plans to establish a brewery in the county. Leaders, including Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi were shouted down and applauded in equal measure by two groups of residents who could not agree on the matter.
The deputy governor watched in silence as two groups of residents engaged in a shouting match over the proposal to set up a plant for a traditional beer called Naicu. The beer will be produced by Ndongai Herbal Company.
The National Environment Management Authority had organised the meeting to collect views on the proposal from the public. The meeting was chaired by Mbeere South subcounty deputy commissioner Lyford Kibaara.
On several occasions the two groups shouted at each other or sang songs touting each other but there was no violence. Those who support the proposal say the beer has been around for several years and has been approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standard, Kenya Revenue Authority the county government.
They argued that the factory was just being relocated from a residential area to a three-acre plot outside the town. Muminji ward representative Newton Kariuki said those who opposed the plans were doing that out of malice and had no tangible reasons.
He said that the factory should be set up to create employment to the local residents. Kariuki said Ndongai Herbal Company is just like any other beer processing company in the country.
Residents opposed to the plans, led by Deputy Governor Nditi and CDF chairman William Mukui, said there was no need for a beer plant in the area, but an alternative food factory. They said if the beer plant is established, local youth would engage in irresponsible drinking.