From a young 16 year old form 3 student to a high school Biology/Chemistry teacher, all wiped by the poisonous liquor laced with methanol is certainly a sad reality poking holes on virtues we uphold as a generation. Do Kenyans have a drinking problem? Well, a recent study indicated that 75% of alcohol consumption in East Africa is imbibed by Kenyans.There is a problem when young men and women pop to the nearest pub as early as 5 am. And as the affluent grapple with alcoblows, the paupers dance with their deaths as unscrupulous entrepreneurs know too well this a big market with instant returns to tap on. Illicit brewing has a strong correlation with poverty and thanks to high corruption tolerance, scary statistics of unemployed youths who survive from hand to mouth, and the icing on the cake, funny names like Shauri Yako, there is little to expect. Low income earners have no history of being inquisitive of what they drink, you will never make them appreciate cheap is expensive. They literally drink anything to get high, the rest does not matter, not even the next minute.
We are a peculiar nation no doubt about that. Every perennial year we watch in the news scores of people hospitalised from drinking poisonous brews processed from slums in Nairobi carefully sealed with a KEBS sticker. The latest scourge distributed to over 8 counties has its source from Kawangware at least that’s what law enforcers allege, killing close to eighty within 48 hours and over a dozen, days after. Every County have their popular ‘brand’ be it Country man, Kosovo, Wings, Yokozuna…, the consistent ingredient in all being methanol, an industrial chemical. Speaking of methanol, am made to understand 10 ml of methanol can cause loss of eyesight.
Cracking on some statistics, in Kenya, 13% cases of HIV/AIDS infections are caused through abuse of alcohol, 2.2 million Kenyans between 15 – 65 years abuse alcohol. Nairobi County has over 30,000 alcoholic outlets, way more more than any other business activity. We all have one or two friends in our peer groups or relatives who struggle with alcoholism. Modern women have also embraced alcohol in their numbers, they say what a man can do, a woman can do it even better, this is a generation that can confirm that. Women drink for many reasons, but the most popular, being to flaunt their financial independence. Men will drink for totally different reasons, they basically view bars as safe havens to seek solace from the modern ‘career’ woman who is not only intimidating but over empowered, a good number of men also have no idea on how to utilise their free time.
I sympathise with the many families struggling to cope with lose of their loved ones, some being bread winners however meager they bring home. NACADA must also be held accountable for lip services and wasting taxpayers money on talk shop. I think government failed by charging excise tax on the popular Senator Keg, its only fair for the poor to drink genuine and affordable beer.