Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama is seeking to have the brewing, sale and consumption of traditional brew busaa legalised.
The lawmaker has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi expressing his intention to move a motion seeking to amend the Alcoholic Drinks and Control Act No 4 of 2010 to legalise busaa.
“The Alcoholic Drinks and Control Act in Section 2 classifies traditional drinks as alcoholic drinks that requires control during sale and sellers must have a licence failure to which it becomes an offence,” reads part of Mr Arama’s letter to the Speaker.
The legislator argued that busaa does not contain a high percentage of ethanol and does not risk lives of consumers.
Mr Arama claimed that busaa is still being consumed as local administration and police officers collect protection fees from sellers and brewers.
“The police and local administration keep on collecting bribes from the sellers and those who drink the brew,” he said.
He added: “Law enforcement agencies have found a way of harassing Kenyans for selling busaa yet this is a source of livelihood for brewers.”
However, the move by the MP has attracted praise and criticism on social media platforms.
The chairman of Nakuru Street Traders and Hawkers Association, Simon Sangale supported the MP's move.
“Although I am a Christian and I abhor drinking of alcohol, I support Mr Arama’s move. However, busaa should be subjected to standardisation and proper packaging to avoid dangers associated with the dangerous second generation brews,” said Mr Sangale.
He added: “Beer is too expensive and out of reach for majority of the poor Kenyans.”
Mr Arnold Martin said: “We should have well packaged busaa and chang’aa, these are good beverages that have quenched people’s thirst for ages.”
But Mr Abdi Ismail opposed the legislator’s move.
“The MP should have introduced a bill that would curb corruption rather than introducing an amendment to legalise busaa,” argued Mr Ismail.
Mr Jimmy Wagakabu poured cold water on the amendment saying “I expected a meaningful Bill that will benefit all and improve quality of lives of Kenyans from the MP.”
Ms Amina Ismail cautioned the MP against pushing for the amendment. “The MP will lose his popularity, it will spoil his legacy,” said Ms Ismail.
However, Mr Charles Kevo supported Mr Arama saying the busaa is good if prepared under hygienic conditions.
“Former Nacada boss John Mututho tried to fight illicit brews and he was finished politically,” said another resident.
Mr Felix Kipruto said the Bill will be dead on arrival on the floor of the House. Mr Ezekiel Kamau advised the MP to do a survey on the ground instead of relying on misleading online survey.