NYAHURURU, Kenya, Sep 14 – The death toll from consumption of illicit brew around the country has risen to 23 in the past two days, after seven people died in Ruiru while in Nyahururu, the number of victims now stands at 16.
The incident in Ruiru occurred on Wednesday morning. Eight victims are nursing effects of the deadly brew in hospital with two of them already blind.
In Nyahururu, the number of dead reached 16, after five more victims succumbed to the deadly effects on Tuesday night.
According to area police boss Jaspher Ombati, the victims were knocked-out by effects of the moonshine Yokozuna which was reported to contain high levels of methanol.
Ombati said the patients were taken ill on Tuesday morning and had appeared to improve after treatment but they later succumbed.
Three people are still fighting for their lives at the Ol-Kalou district hospital while three others are at the Nyahururu district hospital.
Four people lost their eyesight.
Ombati said eight people have so far been arrested in connection with the production and sale of the brews and would appear in court as soon as investigations are completed.
The suspects include the owner of the factory located at Engineer area in Nyandarua South district, his manager as well as distributors and salesmen.
“We located the factory in Kinangop area and managed to apprehend the purported owner and one of his managers and they will appear in court as soon as possible,” he said.
He said several brews packed in plastic bottles namely Taskey, Njamba, Sherehe, Santana Ice, Yokozuna and Savanna have been confiscated while a massive operation on unlicensed bar operators is going on within Nyahururu town and its environs.
Meanwhile, Naivasha Member of Parliament John Mututho has called for total ban of brews packed in plastic containers.
Mututho, who pushed through tough legislation on alcoholic drinks, visited the Kiamaina slums on Tuesday evening and blamed the government for failing to enforce the law.
He regretted that most of the fortified wines had not met the standards and that was why there was an increase in death of people consuming the drinks.
He urged Internal Security minister George Saitoti to issue the ban since the law allowed him to do so.
“The ‘Mututho’ Act is very clear that the minister has the powers to issue a total ban on alcohol brews that do not meet the stipulated standards. The time now has come for him to do so to avert more deaths,” he noted.
He vowed to also introduce amendments into the Act to minimise the number of such brands in the Kenyan market and also provide for stiffer penalties for producers and distributors of the illegal liquor.