Dorcas Gachagua: This is how we'll win war on illicit brews and drugs

Second Lady Pastor Dorcas Rigathi delivers the sermon at the ACK St James Cathedral, Kiambu Town on November 05, 2023. [OSDP, Standard]

A collaboration between national and county governments will win the war against drug abuse and illicit brews, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s spouse Dorcas Rigathi has said.

Mrs Gachagua told The Sunday Standard that the boy child has been forgotten by the community, the church and human rights groups, which have condemned him and left him to his devices.

“If a girl who is a stranger knocks on the door of any home seeking help, she most likely will get it. A boy child is likely to end up in police cells on suspicion of being a thief. The boy child lives like an antelope in the wilderness, exposed to all manner of threats,” Pastor Dorscas said.

“There are many men in jails, hospital wards, and graves, she said, due to consumption of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse,” she said, adding; “We are burying our children every day. The people selling poison in the name of alcohol are murderers, and we must speak against this. Unfortunately, the Judiciary, I think, is taking the war against the killer brew lightly.” 

Her remarks came just days after 23 people were killed in Kirinyaga and 23 others lost their sight after consuming the brew.

The Second Lady’s drive to rescue the boy child from illicit brews and drugs did not start yesterday. “It started in the 90s after an encounter with street boys one evening as I drove home from work,” she says.

She remembers how she was stopped by the street boys along Nairobi’s Uhuru highway. Other city dwellers passed them with their car windows shut and locked for fear of being smeared with human waste, a trick the street children use to force people to give them money. However, Ms Gachagua dared to roll down the car windows to listen to them.

“The boys were shocked. They did not expect a person, let alone a woman, to stop and have time with them. They said they were hungry and I gave them bread and milk. That is how I received the calling to rescue the boy child,” she said.

With her enhanced status now, as the spouse of the Deputy President, she has now dedicated her time to helping boys, including those sold to alcohol and drugs. By so doing, Mrs Gachagua says she is also boosting her husband’s engagement with policy makers in the campaign against illicit liquor and substance abuse.

Part of her initiatives to eradicate illicit brews and hard drugs includes the “360 degrees rehabilitation approach” which entails the initiation of rehabilitation centres, clinics and Vocational Training Colleges and Youth Polytechnics, among others, in the villages to help addicts.

The initiatives, under the tag “healthy villages” will incorporate talent development centres, sports academies, churches and agri-business facilities. Such facilities have already been established at Ngorano village in Mathira, Nyeri County after her organisation - Dorcas Rigathi Foundation - signed an MoU with the county government to fight substance abuse in the region.

“At Ngorano, we have a clinic and an agri-business centre where we planted 300,000 tree seedlings with the help of 200 recovering addicts. They have been there for the last six months. They have started selling seedlings to the Tana Water Works Development Agency. Each is costing Sh100,” she said.

She added: “We are also training them on dairy farming. During the period they will be in rehabilitation centres, they will each look after a dairy cow which they will take home after recovering from addiction. We want to replicate this in all counties.”

In Laikipia County, she said, she oversaw the ground-breaking for the construction of another rehabilitation facility last year. “My office will work with all stakeholders, including the Judiciary, to establish a centre for correcting petty offenders,” Dorcas said.