More than 2,900 people have been arrested and more than 100,000 litres of illicit liquor destroyed in Central region over the last two months during a government crackdown.
According to the Central Regional Security Committee, at least 2,945 people have been taken court over alcohol-related offences since March when the 100-day operation was launched.
“We have arrested 2,945 people caught over alcohol- and drug-related offences and they have all been presented to various courts to answer to the charges. The number will rise because we are reviewing our progress on a weekly basis and the exercise is ongoing,” Central Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega said.
Although the regional boss did not quantify, he said that the courts have made several convictions.
During the exercise that is being conducted by a multi-agency task force under the Ministry of Interior, at least 100,000 litres of illicit brews have been seized and destroyed. The brews were either counterfeit or failed to meet required health standards.
Among the brews impounded were 32,000 litres of chang’aa, 63,000 litres of kang’ara, 10,000 litres of muratina and over 2,000 cartons of assorted counterfeit second generation liquor. Over 1,000 litres of molasses which is a raw material for changaa was also recovered.
“The second generation brews were mostly counterfeit and expired. The rest are illegal brews,” Mr Njega added.
At the same time 297 bars have been shut down during the exercise.
The five central region counties, Nyeri, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kiambu and Kirinyaga, have also seen a surge in bhang consumption. During the raids, more than 10,000 rolls of marijuana were netted and several farms of the drug destroyed.
“On the drugs side, the challenge is bhang. Some of it was destroyed in the farms where it was being grown,” the regional security boss said.
The committee said that the operation will continue in the five counties in a bid to rid the region of brews and drugs completely.
“The crackdowns have been done successfully in the past but lack of continuity has given room for resurgence. This time it will be a continuous process until the region is clean of the brews and drugs,” Mr Njega said.
The crackdown is a second phase of the one ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015, but on larger scale.
In 2015, President Kenyatta ordered a crackdown on illicit brews in the Central region, instructing MPs there to spearhead the fight.