NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has disbanded the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) and asked Members of Parliament to lead the war against illicit brews in their constituencies in Central Kenya.
He has also revoked all licenses for bars and other outlets selling the killer second generation brews in the region and gave the MPs four days to “clean” Central Kenya of the illicit drinks.
The President said the fight against the illicit brews would begin in Central Kenya because it is the worst hit. Later the war will be escalated countrywide.
The President described the sale of the highly toxic and destructive brews in the country as “the business of death” and initiated a four-day campaign to rid Central Kenya of the drinks before the same war is extended to the rest of the country.
“We cannot allow this (sale and consumption of the illicit brews) to continue,” said the President when he met MPs, Senators and Women Representatives from the larger Central Region at State House.
They included elected leaders from Central Kenya, Nairobi, Meru and Embu.
The campaign to rid these region of the killer brews will be spearheaded by General Service Unit (GSU) commandant Joel Kitili in close collaboration with the MPs who will report their progress , action and achievements to the President on Tuesday when they convene again at State House.
“As elected leaders, you know where and who is behind these brews,” adding that during the four days between Friday and Monday, his phone will remain open and accessible to the MPs incase they face challenges in the new campaign.
“My phone will be open 24 hours this weekend. Call me when you need me,” the Head of State told the MPs who were accompanied to State House by County Commissioners and Police County Coordinators from Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Muranga and Nairobi.
The meeting was also attended by Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery and Principal Secretary, ambassador Monica Juma.
“We must agree we have a problem that needs immediate action” the President said firmly and asked the politicians to work closely with church leaders, village elders and women leaders in the villages to clean their constituencies of the brews.
He mandated the MPs and all those supportive of the new drive to move from door to door closing all outlets selling the illicit drinks and destroying those in the process of manufacturing and sale.
The President said in the same way the notorious mungiki group had been eradicated a few years back during President Mwai Kibaki’s tenure, the war against the illicit brews must be won.
“We agreed to tackle the (mungiki) problem head-on and now we have a similar problem. We did it then. We can do it again until we control the ( illicit liquor) problem,” said the president.
The Head of State said nobody will be spared especially those in the Provincial Administration and the police force if they try to frustrate the new campaign by protecting the brewers and the sellers.
“Any officer who does not co-operate must be dismissed on the spot. We cannot just continue talking . Hakuna mambo ya kunongea tena ( time for mere talk is over)’, said the President.
He instructed the MPs to immediately meet with their respective County Commanders to draw strategies of closing all outlets selling the illicit liquor-with or without licences.
“Nobody has a licence to kill other Kenyans. All these businesses must be closed. All County commissioners are mandated to revoke these licences and close the businesses,” he said affirmatively.
The Head of State said the problem of alcoholism and addiction from the illicit liquor is a national problem but Central Kenya is the most affected.
“They have become a major problem especially in our backyard where they have destroyed our children, families and many young workers. People are dying every day. Even where I come from (Gatundu), this is a major problem”, said the President.
Once the killer brews are eradicated, said the President, permanent committees will be constituted in respective sub-counties to sustain the campaign and for surveillance purposes.
President Kenyatta also instructed the National Youth Service (NYS) director Nelson Githinji, who was present to start a parallel campaign of rounding off drunk and addicted youths and put them in special centres for rehabilitation.
“They must start a new life. These young men are the most affected,” said the President.
He told the respectivce senators to work with the governors to explore long lasting solutions especially on matters of licensing of bars.
“It is a critical situation for all of us,” he said.
When the leaders convene at State House on Tuesday, said the president, they will bring lists of their actions including the revoked licences and closed outlets.
They will also make reports of any challenges they might face on the ground.
Newly elected Kabete MP Ferdinard Waititu was praised by colleagues as the most popular politician in Central Kenya over his combative war on illicit brews although the President said the MP’s approach was not the best.
All the MPs who spoke at the meeting drawn from all the counties supported the new campaign saying they were fully behind the President.
“We shall all focus on this singular issue,” said Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru who is the chairman of the Central Kenya Parliamentary Group.