Crackdown on Illicit Brews in Taita Taveta

Interior and Coordination of National government officials in Taita Taveta are now employing new methods to fight brewing and consumption of illicit brews.

According to Mwatate Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Kenneth Muriungi, the government has abandoned the use of police raids and adopted the use of chiefs and informers to coordinate raids.

This has proved successful compared to the police raids where information was leaked prior to the raids, said Muriungi, adding that under the new initiative a combined force of chiefs and their assistants’ raided breweries and later called for police reinforcement.

Muriungi revealed that widespread consumption of the locally known ‘mbangara’ beer and hard drugs had impacted negatively on the lives of the people especially the youth who visited the drinking dens very early in the morning.

The DCC noted the vice had not only promoted crime and affected education and agricultural production but also development in general in the region.

Illicit brews are major contributors to defilement among other gender based violence (GBV) cases . Effects of consumption of the brews are massive and we need a productive health population if the county is to realize meaningful development, he said.

Muriungi commended the chiefs for their commitment in this war as it wholly depended on them to identify where such dens were without the brewers and or the consumers knowing before the police arrest them.

The DCC disclosed that so far the administrators had arrested over 250 suspected brewers and recovered more than 15,000 litres of the cheap brews and pasha sachets used as fermenting agents in a sustained crack down on the brews conducted at Kambanga, Mkuki, Mgeno, Chunga Unga and Bura areas inhabited by small scale and large scale miners.

Muriungi said they had discovered there was a manufacturing plant for cheap liquor at Kambanga and the stuff is transported to Mkuki storage tank for distribution to the neighbouring villages and towns.

We have so far managed about 65 percent eradication level of illicit brews. We have also sustained the crackdown on the brewers and we are doing everything possible to dismantle the manufacturing plant as the lasting solution to the problem, said the commissioner.

Muriungi noted that in the raid which they had carried out earlier in the week at Mkuki area, 24 suspected brewers were arrested among them two undocumented foreign citizens.

He noted that he had full support from the Judiciary and the members of the public in the war against the brews.

We are also getting good support from the Judiciary because the fines imposed on the brewers are big which they are unable to raise unlike in the past where they used to fundraise for one another so as to bail out their colleagues, he said.

The administrator that noted in the past, the brewers used to fundraise to bail out their colleagues but the big court bails and fines had become unattainable for the suspects.

He however, noted that fear of being bewitched had frustrated the war against the brews at Saghaighu Sub Location in Chawia location with no substantive Assistant Chief.

There are funny beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery in the area. The sub location will soon have an Assistant Chief to deal with the situation, he said.

Source: Kenya News Agency