NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – The death toll from the consumption of illicit brew rose to 83 on Wednesday, according to figures released by the Kenya National Disaster Operations Centre.
This was after the death toll in Embu rose to 35 on Wednesday, with that in Makueni rising from six to 18 and with three new cases being reported in Murang’a.
The deaths in Kiambu remained constant at 20 but one more death was reported in Kitui, bringing the county death toll to seven.
So far, three people have been arrested, one in Embu and two in Ruai on suspicion of involvement in the sale of the illicit brew.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku on Wednesday vowed stern action against officers whose responsibility it was to ensure that illicit alcohol was not being brewed or sold.
“Severe disciplinary action will be taken against officers in charge of Kenya Police and Administration Police in these areas,” he said as two police officers were sacked in Embu.
Eastern regional coordinator Claire Omolo announced that two chiefs in Embu had also been relieved of their duties.
“I had sent strict warnings that any officer whose areas condone sale and consumption of illicit brew would be dealt with,” she cautioned.
Lenku stated that the interdictions were extended to all the affected areas.
“The Government wishes to express profound condolences to the families of the bereaved and re-assures Kenyans that immediate action has been taken against those responsible,” he pledged.
“Kenyans are particularly advised to avoid taking alcoholic drinks packaged in sachets, plastic bottles and jerry cans because such drinks are easily adulterated,” Lenku warned.
He directed the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) to ensure regulation of molasses used as animal feed, surgical spirits and industrial alcohol.
“Ensure that molasses sold for livestock is salted to so that it is not diverted for use in fermenting illicit brews. Surgical spirit and similar industrial alcohol are colour coded and sealed to avoid being with neutral colour,” he directed.
Meanwhile investigations are ongoing to establish the source of the killer brews identified as Kathavuria in Embu, Countryman in Makueni and Kitui, Sacramento spirit in Murang’a and Sun Lemon in Kiambu.