War against alcohol earned Bungoma more than 10M in 2015.

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Second generation brews
Some of the impounded illicit brew during the crackdown in May last year/ Photo/ West Fm file

War against alcohol earned Bungoma more than 10M in 2015.

John Kabaka

Mohamed Maalim
Mohamed Maalim,the Bungoma County commissioner. He said war against alcohol earned Bungoma more than 10 M /Photo/West Fm File

On the back of the worsening crisis, top national and county government officials in May last year declared an all-out war on killer brews that had claimed the lives of hundreds and shattered families.

The Government revoked all licenses for second generation alcoholic drinks across the country as officials gave the grim statistics: over 14,000 youths less than 21 years die from alcohol incidents including car crashes, homicides, and suicides, alcohol poisoning and associated injuries.

While there were no official figures of the death toll from the killer brews, the gravity of the problem was pronounced in May last year when over 100 people were killed across four counties.

In Bungoma county more than 140,900 litres of illegal brew were netted last year including locally brewed illegal Chang’aa, Kangara and Busaa, Bungoma county commissioner Maalim Mohammed has said.

“Not only alcohol was netted, we also arrested a number of people in possession of 148 rolls of bhang and also 7 kilo grams of the same”, said Maalim.

More than 1, 700 people engaging in illegal brew business were also arrested of which 770 people are out serving under the community service order.

“The main aim of allowing them serve under the community service is order is to de -congest our prisons which over the time have been so congested” quipped Maalim.
He also said that more than 200 are serving their sentence.

War against the second generation brews earned the county revenue of up 5 million shillings.

“This five million shillings is what we got form the fines and a few charges, but mark you there are those cases that have not been heard and determined” he said.

He added, “We are looking at another five million Kenya shillings at the end of everything and we would have collected 10 million for the county”.

The national government representative in the county also said that more than 500 cases are still pending in court.

He urged the county’s political wing to join hands and help in the war against illicit brew saying some were misleading the people.

Some of the impounded illicit brew during the crackdown in May last year/ Photo/ West Fm file
Some of the impounded illicit brew during the crackdown in May last year/ Photo/ West Fm file

“When a political leader tells people to drink at any given time of the day, what does that mean, does he want them to start drinking in the morning, how will they work, fend for their families, we don’t want a county where people are drunk at 6 in the morning, we want a working county, and if somebody wants to go sit with wazee, then that should after work,” said Maalim.

He said the war will never end urging the County government to hasten laws and regulations to govern the legal traditional brewing.

“I know the bill is in the county assembly, when it is fully discussed and passed we will have the legal frame work and our people will be guided on matters legal traditional brewing”. said the County commissioner.

He said plans are under way to establish a government chemist in Bungoma for easy verification.

“Kenyans have become clever when arrested and arraigned in court, some dispute that have been arrested and we need to taste and verify whatever they were netted with because we need to go all the way to Kisumu to verify the substance, we really need it here to help us quickly taste the level and alcohol standard.

Maalim  said even though the county did not record any deaths resulting from illegal brews. Many of the people who participated in drinking are now blind and cannot go about their usual operations.

Families too, have broken just because of illicit liquor. This is a great lose that requires a great change,” he explained.

He asked police, chiefs and the public to continue with the illicit brew crackdown and flush out leaders of the illegal business.

“Now that the war against alcohol is on,in the entire country, it’s good to keep the fire burning till the poisonous brews are kicked from our midst completely” he said.