Kenya: Govt Mulls Enhanced Measures to Tackle Trade in Illicit Brews

22 February 2024

Nairobi — The government is set to announce multi-agency and multi-stakeholder measures aimed at stamping out the trade in illicit brews, drugs, and substance abuse in the country.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua promised Thursday to formally unveil the new interventions in a week as part of the ongoing efforts to address the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse.

Gachagua made the announcement after a high-level meeting with key officials, including Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, Treasury's Njuguna Ndung'u, and Susan Nakhumicha (Health).

'Merchants of Death'

He underscored the commitment of President William Ruto's administration to root out the menace.

"The Government will not allow Merchants of Death to continue with the illegal business of illicit brew, drugs and other substances," he said during the engagement at his Karen residence.

The Attorney General, Justin Muturi, was also in attendance alongside a host of other senior officials, including Interior PS Raymond Omollo, Public Health counterpart Mary Muthoni, Treasury's Chris Kiptoo, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah and Solicitor General Shadrack Mose.

Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome, Deputy Inspector-General of the Kenya Police Service Douglas Kanja, Deputy Inspector General (Administration Police) Service Noor Gabow, Acting Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Paul Ndemo, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General Humphrey Wattanga and NACADA Chief Executive Officer Anthony Omerikwa, graced the occasion.

Other officials present included Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)Director Quality Assurance and Inspection, Dr Geoffrey Muriira among others.

On February 16, the government announced a nationwide crackdown on illicit brew sellers following the tragic deaths of 23 individuals in Kirinyaga who consumed illicit brew earlier this month.

Kindiki declared the immediate commencement of the crackdown to address the significant challenge posed by illicit brews across the country.

He vowed to pursue the fight against alcohol and substance abuse with the same seriousness as combating terrorism, banditry, and other complex criminal activities.

"We will not take this as a small matter," he said following a strategy meeting with the newly deployed members of Kirinyaga County and Mwea West Sub-County Security and Intelligence Committees.

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