Government launches crackdown on illicit alcohol during festive season

Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo speaking at the KICD Headquarters in Nairobi on December 14, 2022 during a consultative meeting. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

The government has announced a countrywide crackdown on illicit alcohol as the festive season begins.

Interior Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Raymond Omollo said on Wednesday, December 14 that the crackdown will help avert health complications, including death, caused by consumption of the unregulated liquor.

Omollo spoke at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Headquarters in Nairobi during a consultative meeting with officials from NACADA, the National Police Service, the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority and representatives of county governments.

The PS said following previous patterns, the consumption of illicit alcohol tends to rise during the festive season.

"This crackdown is, therefore, timely as it mitigates the potential harm wrought on our people by illicit brews and counterfeit alcohol that is mostly traded in non-compliant premises. Through this exercise, we can protect our youth from the devastating effects of alcohol and drug abuse," Dr. Omollo said on Wednesday.

The PS assured law-compliant alcohol dealers that the crackdown won't affect their businesses.

"The government is not against legitimate alcohol businesses. Licensed trade in legit alcohol is an important economic activity that will be accorded the necessary support and security," said Omollo.

The PS urged county governments to ensure that alcohol store owners comply with relevant laws, including licensing.

"Whilst we have seen commitment in several counties, lax administration of these responsibilities undermines the fight against drugs and illicit alcohol. We will sustain engagements with relevant counties to redress this concern," said Omollo.

Japhet Koome, the Inspector-General of Police who attended the Wednesday consultative meeting, said his officers won't tolerate drink-driving, especially during the festive season.

"We are already in the festive mood. The festive mood comes with excitement. Drivers tend to drink and drive. We are not going to allow it. For speeding, we will not tolerate it," said Koome.