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State officer heckled over illicit brews menace

COUNTIES
By Boniface Gikandi | July 13th 2015
Murang'a governor Mwangi wa Iria joins traditional dancers at General Ihura stadium where the locals called for concreted efforts among the leaders to fight alcoholism. PHOTO: BONIFACE GIKANDI/STANDARD]

The police and Provincial Administration have been accused of being behind the proliferation of illicit brews in the region.

During a meeting at General Ihura Stadium, County Commissioner Kula Hache was accused of failing to curb the menace.

Her efforts to defend the force were met with heckling from the public.

The administrator, however, remained firm despite the heckling and noted that the ongoing crackdown on second generation brews had registered great success.

Leaders, who included Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura, MPs Sabina Chege (woman representative), Irungu Kang'ata (Kiharu), Humprey Njuguna (Gatanga) Alice Wahome (Kandara), Peter Kamande (Maragua) and Clement Wambugu (Mathioya), watched as the public tore into the Provincial Administration as the police stood guard.

MPs Fernindard Waititu (Kabete) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) said they had managed to wipe out illegal breweries in their areas and urged the leadership in Murang'a to work jointly.

Noting that alcoholism is a challenge in the county, Ms Hache said many of the second generation brews in circulation have stamps from the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

The heckling started after the administrator claimed more second generation brews had been destroyed in the county than in Kiambu.

The public immediately hit back, saying there were more brews hidden in palatial homes of tycoons with the help of police.

"To prove how serious we are with the crackdown, four chiefs and a police officer have been interdicted over failure to fight alcoholism," she said.

When he took to the podium, Mr Kang'ata led the public in calling for the exit of Hache from Murang'a, saying she had failed in the fight against alcoholism.

"During George Natembeya's (Hache's predecessor) stay, the rich spent nights in police cells for contravention of the law, but today there is a lot of laxity, which needs to end," said Kang'ata.

MPs present supported the ongoing crackdown in Mt Kenya region, saying there is need for close co-operation between the police, public and leaders for the brews to be wiped out.

Ms Wahome also felt the wrath of the public when she denied claims of there being an illegal brewery in her constituency.

Mr Iria said licensing of liquor outlets will be done through public participation to ensure effective involvement of the locals to avoid critics.

He said the participation will be supervised by the MPs and MCAs who will write to the county government on which premises to be licensed.

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