, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Newly appointed National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) Chairman John Mututho has vowed to crack the whip on the illicit brews menace in all parts of the country, as he assumed office on Thursday.
Mututho, who two years ago championed a law aimed at regulating alcohol consumption in Kenya, expressed concern that illicit brews were still rampant despite stringent laws enacted to end the menace.
“It is a rare opportunity when a man is given a chance to implement his own laws,” he said.
“The laws have no problem but the police and the provincial administration are at times corrupt and they hinder the implementation of the laws. The President gave an order for NACADA to take three months to report on the changes they have made and they are over so I am looking forward to see those who will lose their jobs for failing to comply,” added Mututho.
The former Naivasha MP vowed not to waiver in fighting the menace, saying he was prepared to face those resisting change.
“All I ask people is to comply with all the laws to avoid being on the wrong side and those giving misleading information on the alcohol they sell need to stop,” he said noting that the main reason that he was voted out of office is that drug lords saw him as a threat to their business due to his vehement campaign against drug abuse.
Mututho also pledged to deal with the controversy over miraa (khat).
He clarified that he will give a detailed report on how he intends to tackle the matter within 10 days after taking over office.
“The world is waiting for me to talk about miraa and I will do so in the coming days… but in the meantime, I advice the police officers, chiefs and other public servants to start drafting their resignation letters as they will have no jobs once the report is completed.”
The Head of State, at the opening of the 2nd National Conference on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in June put the country’s law enforcement agencies on notice and directed a crackdown on drug abuse in the country.
Over 20 foreigners, including controversial Nigerian businessman Antony Chinedu who was facing drug-related charges, were deported after the president gave the order.
“I have already given a directive that all foreigners who are either suspected or deal with drug trafficking be deported to their own countries to do their business there. They do not need to be here,” he stressed.
In July, NACADA held back on its fight against miraa after a lawsuit against them was filed by the Nyambene Miraa Traders.
In an affidavit presented to Justice Isaac Lenaola, NACADA Chief Executive Officer William Omondi said they had not classified khat as a narcotic as alleged by the traders and farmers and could therefore not be held responsible for a drop in khat sales.
“Any efforts to regulate miraa production, sale and consumption must involve the key stakeholders including the community, political and civic leaders as well as the government,” the affidavit reads.
“Despite the negative health and educational effects, miraa has deep rooted cultural and economic importance to the producing and consuming communities.”
The agency less than a month prior had launched a campaign against khat classifying it as an abused substance and laying on its doorstep responsibility for liver damage, ulcers and a diminished sex drive.
These effects were captured in a report generated by NACADA last year but Omondi said they had, “conducted the research with the sole purpose and intention of having empirical and scientific facts to inform the public and raise awareness on miraa.”