NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has dismissed allegations by NACADA chairman John Mututho that over the last one year, 6,000 illegal alcoholic brands have been introduced into the Kenyan market.
KEBS Chairman Lucas Maitha on Friday said the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Chairman John Mututho should stick to his mandate instead of causing unnecessary alarm to the public.
He said the country has only 684 certified alcoholic brands against what Mututho has alleged and that only 84 new brands were licensed during the period.
“For him to claim that we have over 6000 new brands is a gross lie. It is a plot to spoil our good name,” he defended.
Maitha assured that KEBS has put in place adequate measures to ensure there is no illicit alcohol saying it’s even rated third in Africa in terms of capacity.
Among the measures put in place, Maitha said, is the addition of Bitrex (Denatonium Benzoate) to any and all methanol that enters the country which makes it bitter and deters unscrupulous individuals from using it to manufacture illicit breweries.
“We have denatured all methanol being imported in this country at border points,” he insisted.
Maitha urged Mututho to stick to his mandate of fighting alcohol abuse, a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law a bill recognising alcoholism as a disease.
“People are not giving birth in central Kenya because of this problem. In Mombasa the youths are using drugs,” he accused in turn.
The Alcoholic Drinks Control (Amendment) Act, 2015 which became law on Thursday amends the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act popularly known as the Mututho law that has been in place since 2010.
The Amendment Act which was sponsored by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa states that the government, “recognise alcoholism as a disease and the alcohol use disorders as defined by World Health Organisation shall be recognised disorders in Kenya”.
READ: Kenya classifies alcoholism as a disease
The newly signed Act compels the government and the National Authority for the Campaigns against Drug Abuse (NACADA) to conduct education and awareness campaigns on alcoholism.