By: ERIC MATARA
The national anti-drugs agency is planning to set up an undercover team to monitor alcohol use during the festive season.
The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) has assigned officers to arrest people found flouting the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, commonly known as the Mututho laws.
The law limits drinking hours and regulates consumption of alcohol.
Nacada Chairman John Mututho Monday warned alcohol users they would be under surveillance the entire December festive season.
“Behave or you will pay dearly in the name of celebrating,” he said in Nakuru.
The team comprises police officers tasked with implementing the Mututho laws.
“Being a busy holiday, many people like to enjoy themselves by indulging in drinking, which often leads to loss of lives from accidents,” he said.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has raised similar concerns, saying the number of road accidents tend to increase in December due to the festivities.
On Monday, Mr Mututho said his team would be conducting surveillance round the clock.
“My team will not go on holiday as we will be conducting surveillance until the season is over,” he warned.
He said the number of undercover officers to be deployed in various towns would vary, depending on the rate of alcohol abuse as per the Nacada statistics.
Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret have been marked as the towns notorious for drunkenness.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery is also expected to make an announcement on the newly formed team later this week.
To ensure effectiveness of the special unit, Nacada and the Interior Ministry have launched hotline number 1192, which the public can use to report offenders.
Mr Mututho asked alcohol traders to adhere strictly to the law.
He warned revellers and traders against going past the 11pm deadline.
“There are people who pour alcohol in a bottle of mineral water, or in a bottle of soda, and then they pretend that they are taking a soft drink. If we find you, you should know what the maximum fine for adulterating drinks is,” said Mr Mututho.
Nacada further warned motorists against drink-driving during the festive season, saying more breath tests would be carried out.
“Nobody wants you in jail or in the morgue. It is even better to see you in January having come from Kamiti than to see you in the papers having died,” said the Nacada boss.