By Ngari Gichuki
Nairobi, Kenya: “Don’t hog a full bottle of whiskey in one sitting this festive season, at least have it in small quantities for the whole month,” these were the words of the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) chairman John Mututho.
He was speaking at the launch of a road safety awareness campaign dubbed, “The festive season is here, Tafadhali don’t drink and drive.”
Mututho also said that he was spearheading a campaign to promote responsible drinking in the Country adding that Kenya was in a silent alcohol crisis with 75% of the alcohol produced in East Africa being consumed in Kenya.
He added that NACADA was working on a campaign to remove illegal brands of alcohol from the market as only 50 of the 500 brands currently circulating in the market have met the standards set by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and NACADA.
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Mututho said that the campaign was to safe guard the health of the public and promote responsible drinking since many of these un- registered alcoholic brands posed a great risk to public health.
“Responsible drinking first starts with proper regulation of the alcohol industry, we understand that our economy greatly benefits from the industry but public health must be safe guarded at whatever means especially from those un-scrupulous brewers ,” said Mututho.
Mututho urged the police and other relevant authorities to step up their efforts to curb drunk driving so as to prevent more deaths on our roads this festive season, he however added that the aim should not be to make arrests but to safe guard all Kenyans and ensure everyone is around to see the next year and contribute in nation building.
“Through road checks, tough punitive measures and eventually behavior change, we will go a long way in ensuring that no more lives are lost on our roads, everyone has a responsibility to reduce road carnage in Kenya and promote nation building,” said Mututho.
He added that NACADA was pushing for the revival of the 1907 law which required that anyone hosting a party at their residence to register with the police and pay a thousand shillings, he said that this will help in monitoring underage drinking, tighten security and curb public nuisance which are quickly becoming a norm for residential parties.
Also at the launch was the chairman of the Responsible Alcohol Drinks Companies Association Koen Morshuis, he said that the association was out to promote good drinking habits and reduce the fatalities of drunk driving.
“We care about the consequences of alcohol misuse. As stake holders in this industry we are saddened by the statistics of the causalities on our roads related to driving under the influence of alcohol. The safest approach for those who intend to drive is not to drink and therefore we strongly support targeted awareness campaigns backed by enforcement that encourage people not to drink and drive especially during the festive season,” said Morshuis.
The campaign will be done using billboards, banners and media channels which is expected to cost over 20 million shillings.