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Locals, leaders query effectiveness of Waititu's addicts programme

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Thu, June 7th 2018 at 00:00, Updated June 6th 2018 at 22:56 GMT +3
Kiambu Bar Liquor Association Chairman Richard Kagiri leading other bar owners in the County during a peaceful demonstration in Kiambu town. [Kamau Maichuhie/Standard]

A programme championed by Governor Ferdinand Waititu that is meant to rehabilitate alcohol addicts in the county has been brought under sharp focus.

Residents and leaders are questioning the effectiveness of the programme after details emerged that some of the addicts could be using the money given by the county government to buy more alcohol.

Some of the addicts created a spectacle when they turned up totally inebriated during Maradaka Day celebrations last week.

Under the programme, 5,000 addicts have been put on the county payroll, receiving Sh400 a day. This is costing the county Sh2 million daily.

In return, the addicts have been given manual jobs by the county government, including clearing bushes, trenches and drains, and collecting garbage in their respective villages.

The programme, which is slated to go on for six months, will see the county spend at least Sh300 million.

Fuel vehicles

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County Alcoholic Drinks Director Geoffrey Kaara last week revealed the county was using Sh70, 000 a day to fuel vehicles used in the ongoing crackdown on illicit brews.

Gladys Chania, a counselling psychologist based in Kiambu, has faulted the method the governor is using to rehabilitate the addicts.

Ms Chania said the best way to rehabilitate the addicts was to take them to into rehabilitation centres.

Political leaders from the county, including Deputy Governor James Nyoro, have also faulted the county government's approach.

Mr Nyoro said the programme was not sustainable and called on the governor to change tack.

“The first step is to make the addicts stop drinking the alcohol, then take them to the rehabilitation centres before they can be reintegrated back into society, and finally give them jobs to keep them busy,” he said.

Last Sunday, Mr Waititu clashed with Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba and Senator Kimani Wamatangi during a church service in Ngegu, near Kiambu town, over the programme.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura has also said the programme is unsustainable while Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria on Tuesday told the governor to steer clear of his constituency.

"We will fight against illicit brews ourselves here. That is my work and that of the residents in conjunction with the chief, and we have not said we are unable to do it," said Mr Kuria.


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