, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – The National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (NABAK) has urged firm action against illicit brews trade, due to its socio-economic impact.
The NABAK Vice-Chairman, Ken Kariuki, said in a statement issued on Tuesday that the association was saddened by Sunday’s incident in Kibera Nairobi, where reports indicate that 17 people died while 12 others were left blind after consuming a lethal brew.
Mr Kariuki observed that illicit brews are detrimental to the Kenyan society due to their social and health implications. “Unsuspecting Kenyans continue to suffer at the hand of unscrupulous business people who sell unhygienic products,” Mr Kariuki said and added and called on the Government to continue clamping down on the illicit brews trade.
He commended the Government for its efforts to deal with the issue but urged authorities to engage all stakeholders in a concerted effort to deal with the problem which seems to be growing. “Illicit brews have caused untold suffering to the Kenyan society, leading to death and serious health challenges in some cases,” observed the Vice-Chairman.
Mr Kariuki also noted that apart from the social and health problems associated with illicit drinks, the Government is denied tax revenue, which is vital to meet the development needs of Kenya. It is estimated that the production and consumption of illegal brews, accounts for 60 percent of the total alcoholic beverages market.
Mr Kariuki urged Kenyans to come out and help the stakeholders root out the problem, saying illicit brew dens continue to thrive.
Eight of those who had consumed the poisonous drink on Sunday night, including a young woman, were found dead in their houses on Monday morning, while bodies of three others were discovered on footpaths later on Monday. Four others died on arrival at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Those who died were reported to have been drinking moonshine laced with methanol at a popular drinking den in the slum for the better part of Sunday.
Three months ago, 12 people died after consuming illicit brew in Nairobi’s Shauri Moyo estate and more than 20 other people left blind.
And in June 2005, 49 people died in Machakos after they consumed illicit home-made brew suspected to have been laced with a poisonous substance.
Dozens others were reported to have lost sight at the time.