, NAIROBI Kenya, July 8 – At least 12 million Kenyans take alcohol every day, according to the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Chairman John Mututho.
Of these, Mututho told the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security, about two million are addicts who need rehabilitation services.
He further said that the country consumes over 70 percent of alcohol produced in the East Africa region.
“We have currently about 15 million Kenyans who are said to be drinking regularly and about 12 million Kenyans who drink daily,” he stated.
“If 12 million Kenyans are drinking daily and are taking only Sh100, that’s Sh1.2 million daily going to alcohol which amounts to over Sh400 billion in a year.”
He went on to reveal that: “We are consuming about 70 to 75 percent of all the alcohol consumed in East Africa as per now. Those figures when you bring together with what is available from Kenya Revenue Authority even in terms of VAT are missing. Where does that money go to? It goes to crime, drugs among other things.”
He said despite this enormous challenge, NACADA has not established a single treatment and rehabilitation centre across the country but noted they have been supporting the Coast General Hospital.
“I think it’s more honourable to admit a failure, we do not have any rehabilitation centre which is run by NACADA,” he stated.
The NACADA boss was testifying before the committee on National Security on the close to 100 deaths caused by illicit liquor in May.
In his response he said the authority had recommended the reduction of the duty on ethanol to discourage the use of lethal methanol in the manufacture of alcohol.
In a report presented before the committee, not a single person has since been arrested other than a closure of a manufacturing company in Kisumu.
Defending the authority, Mututho recommended that NACADA should have an inspectorate department to enforce their regulations.
“We need to look at possible amendments so that we have a body which has muscles but as per now, the anti-narcotic people only sit on our board meetings, we do not know what they do in their offices,” he lamented.
Among the measures which NACADA took after the deaths of Kenyans is to console and offer counselling services.
NACADA Chief Executive Officer William Okedi however found himself on the spot after he said the counselling was done through television programmes and newspaper articles.
Wanjiku Muhia a member of the committee and Nyandarua Woman Representative described this as “a mockery to say you consoled people who lost their loved ones through newspapers. Doesn’t NACADA have enough manpower that can console the people?”
Muhia also wondered why only a company in Kisumu was closed when majority of deaths occurred in Mount Kenya region and some parts of Eastern region.
On whether miraa is under the category of drugs, Mututho said, “Yes, when you look at the list of drugs that are being considered, you have 20 multi dangerous drugs and miraa is number 20 while alcohol is number one.”