, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Former Naivasha MP John Mututho whose appointment as NACADA Chairman was recently revoked has assured MPs vetting his suitability of his commitment to fight drug abuse in the country.
Mututho told the National Assembly Committee on National Security and Administration that he will particularly prioritise the war on drug and substance abuse among the youth.
He told the committee that if confirmed, he will also ensure the sale of illicit brews is contained during this festive season.
“I am going to make sure, that by this Christmas, (which is a few weeks away) you will have quality alcohol which does not include industrial alcohol.”
“I just want to make Kenya a sober nation. I have spent all my money close to Sh23 million to publicise the bills in the media. I have tried… I have accepted this lesser job on a low salary of Sh80,000 to save this young people,” he stated.
He says it was sad that teenagers spend close to Sh240 billion on entertainment, with half of the money used to purchase alcohol and drugs.
“It is not Kenya on trial, it is Kenya on fire because whether you want it or not, there are so many police officers who will not arrest anybody because he is contravening drugs or alcoholism.”
“I would be happy to sit in my home in Karen and read my newspaper without rushing around to see who has opened or not opened (his bar beyond the stipulated hours) and continue attending funerals like the one I will be attending tomorrow if I don’t get the job because there is nothing else I can do,” he appealed to the committee members.
The former Naivasha MP’s September appointment was revoked by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a Kenya Gazette notice of October 24 after some MPs termed it illegal due to lack of parliamentary approval.
Mututho also warned that law enforcement officers would be sacked if they were found to be turning a blind eye to the offences.
“Police officers and chiefs who are watching as the law is breached should be ready to go home. We will not tolerate this impunity,” Mututho said.
He told the committee that if confirmed to the position, he will use his popularity to increase the profile of the anti-drug abuse agency.
He noted lack of an aggressive anti-drug and alcohol abuse campaign by his past two predecessors had allowed the abuse of drugs and substances to spiral out of control after the NACADA’s first chairman Joseph Kaguthi term expired in 2007.
The former lawmaker said he will spearhead a campaign to ensure all provision of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010, (which he marshalled through during in his tenure in the Tenth Parliament), are enforced beginning with the restriction on the opening hours for bars.
The law requires bars to be open from 5pm to 11pm on weekdays and from 2pm to 11pm on weekends. Mututho wants wines and spirits shops to be included in this list.
Besides regulating drinking hours, the Act introduced new packaging guidelines requiring alcohol to be packaged in glass bottles instead of sachets which were preferred by mixers because of their cost.
The law also requires that bars be at least 300 metres away from any learning institution.
If his nomination is approved by the National Assembly, Mututho will head the anti-drug abuse watchdog for three years after the term of Frank Njenga ended.
The committee vetting him is due to hand in its report on Thursday.