Mr. President, I hope this letter finds you well. Am aware you are a busy man. Having said that, am requesting you to spare utmost five minutes of your busy schedule to read these 1,000 or so words of my two cents thinking. Its about matters alcoholism in the context of your passionate appeal and directive on immediate stoppage of illicit brew production. I must admit its rather unfortunate that you had to personally intervene to this growing life threatening menace while we have institutional bodies like NACADA, KEBS, Public Health and Provincial Administration mandated to regulate and monitor the whole business of alcohol supply.
Am fairly young bwana President,(barely 30 hehe) and terribly sympathise with my generation. Am deeply concerned about our outright worship of alcohol (read mainstream beer/wine/whiskys) and illicit brews which lowly financially endowed youths are hooked in to. I can relate to your anger where unscrupulous entrepreneurs are sending our generation to their deathbed with no iota of remorse. I fail too, to comprehend why a young man would gulp a drink whose name is Rest In Peace packaged with a coffin image.
Here is my advise; Please reign on the Provincial Administration. To start with, give a terse warning to all chiefs. Meaning, any chief who fails to contain illicit brew in his/her location in the next 6 months should be immediately dismissed and put behind bars. Secondly, zoom to the OCPDs and Administration Police. They are the rock bed in matters corruption and protecting sacred cows in this scam. They either run these businesses in the periphery or have their girlfriends or relatives managing them. What this means is that their entertainment joints, be it pubs or wines and spirits dens are untouchable. The worse that can happen for them its to be warned that NACADA officials will do a spot check on a said date. This means they not only operate outside the mututho hours (5pm – 11pm on weekdays and 2pm – 11pm on weekends) but also become susceptible to selling illegitimate alcohol products. No chief or police officer should run an entertainment/bar business. That should be very clear.
Speaking of mututho hours, I know of a small pub where I always pass by while heading to the office, located less than 300 meters from a public primary school that opens 24/7. For very strange reasons, occasionally I find young ladies completely passed out at 8:00 am on weekdays. This bar sells anything from illicit brew to 2nd generation liquor. I don’t understand how it operates with this sheer impunity in a town’s CBD. The entire Provincial Administration is part and parcel of this tragedy. There is no way for instance, Murang’a County can net 1 million litres of illicit brew and business goes on as usual. Mr. President, chiefs and OCPDs in this region should have been sacked and prosecuted by now. The buck must stop somewhere. If this government shows more seriousness in fighting this war through nationwide enforcements, it can be worn.
There is no reason why my area chief down in the village( not a village per se) nets 1,300 cartons of 2nd generation alcohol and fails to destroy it, remains in office. This is the same chief who purports to be fighting illicit liquor now while he has been in office close to 20 yrs now. The habit with chiefs and police has been, seize off the liquor, take it to a police station and later release it to the market. The police are bribed to release it. The media will have reported how the police unearthed a major illicit brew cache. These monkey games must be reigned on, now.
The other group that you should prevail upon are the NACADA officials. Am not surprised that the top management level of NACADA is always in limbo from matters conflict of interest and corruption. Its officers on the ground can only be assumed to be incompetent or bribed to turn a blind eye. Until recently there has lacked enough sensitization on alcohol abuse, alcohol qualityness and alcoholism status in this country. The big boys in this game of alcohol brewing have been trying to vindicate themselves through adverts in national newspapers. The notion here is that there is good and bad alcohol. That’s a big lie. In a country so hooked to alcoholism, where the female gender is attempting to oust the men in alcohol imbibing; we have a big time problem. In my opinion adverts on alcohol and cigarettes should be completely banned.
KEBS and KRA should be put on notice. For the latter, there is no way its stickers can be so easily faked without them addressing the issue. Its either they have been compromised or are too incompetent. KEBS and Public health officers on the other hand have not been hands on to apprehend business men and women trading illicit brews in established outlets. Its one thing to give a clean bill of health and its another to ensure only the legitimate products are on constant supply. Bottom line is; heads must roll for Kenyans to take this renewed vigour seriously. Otherwise your government will be a laughing stock’s subject. County governments must also be advised to apply a formula on the number of bars a given area can hold. It should not just be about anybody who can raise the licence fees. The benchmark should be set very high. In fact I have am on record suggesting licence fees should be in the region of a million plus to discourage any Kamau, Ochieng’ or Wambua. Not to mention that no bar should be any near a residential estate. And to cater for the poor who must drink, kindly remove excise duty on Senator Keg to make it affordable to many and to discourage infiltration of illicit brew in the market.
Alcoholism will first be won by eradicating illicit brew and 2nd generation liquor. Enough said, lets walk the talk sir.