Kenyan leader orders crackdown on illicit brew

Thursday September 15 2011

President Kibaki confers with local leaders moments after he placed a foundation stone on a Nyeri ASK Presidential Council Pavilion at Kabiruini showground on September 15, 2011. He ordered a crackdown on the sale and consumption of illicit brew in the country. JOSEPH KANYI

President Kibaki confers with local leaders moments after he placed a foundation stone on a Nyeri ASK Presidential Council Pavilion at Kabiruini showground on September 15, 2011. He ordered a crackdown on the sale and consumption of illicit brew in the country. JOSEPH KANYI  

By JOHN NJAGI [email protected]

President Kibaki has expressed concern over the growing menace of illicit brews in the country and directed the provincial administration to deal decisively with the issue.

He said the sale and consumption of the illicit liquor had led to loss of several lives especially in central Kenya and asked security agencies to move with speed to curb the vice.

“I urge government administrators to move with speed to rectify the situation so as to avert loss of live,” he said when he opened the Nyeri agricultural show at the Kabiruini show ground in Nyeri County Thursday.

The President also directed elected leaders to speak out on the vice, which has led to death of 28 people in Nyahururu, Ol Kalou and Ruiru towns this week.

Commenting on an issue that has gripped the country already in mourning following a massive fire tragedy in Sinai, Nairobi, the President criticised leaders saying they are not doing enough to dissuade people against consuming the deadly brews.

The tragedies that have struck the country have been blamed on complacency of leaders, with some of them accused of blocking eviction of people who had encroached on a Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) pipeline.

The president seemed to take the same line of blame, but focused on the illicit brew menace, saying elected leaders were not speaking out against the vice.

He said Parliament has already passed legislation to control sale and consumption of alcohol, saying such legislation should strictly be implemented to prevent loss of live as a result of proliferation of illicit brews.

The killer brews have added to the state of mourning, coming at a time the country is in two days of mourning over the death of over 100 people in the Sinai fire tragedy after a petrol leak from an oil pipeline caught fire.

The president was among leaders who visited the victims of the slum fire tragedy at Kenyatta Hospital, where scores were rushed with severe burns, and expressed concern about the string of tragedies that has befallen the country in the recent past, among them as a result of road accidents.

In a stern directive to the police, President Kibaki directed law enforcers to deal decisively with reckless drivers who endanger the lives of their passengers.

“The road network that we are improving must never be avenues of death for our people,” said the President.

At the same time, President Kibaki gave the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives development six months to revive the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union saying it was important to revival of the coffee sector.

He noted the institution was still at risk, and was a drawback to government efforts to revive the agricultural sector saying the sector was key to growth of the economy.

“Despite our efforts to revive agricultural institutions, KPCU still remains at risk due to past mismanagement. I urge the two ministries to come up with modalities for its revival within six months,” he said.

President Kibaki also announced the revival of the rice and fish production sectors, where over Sh8 billion has been set aside to expand them.

The President said the two sectors, which would be enhanced through setting up value addition chains, would lead to job creation for the youth and improvement of the rural economy.