State vows to intensify crackdown on illicit brewers as 1.7m litres spilled

Police officers in Langas Kapseret Sub County inspect containers full of illicit brew worth hundreds of shilling at Langas Kisumu Ndogo estate on March 31, 2023. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

The government has vowed to crack hard on those involved in the illicit brew trade.

In a press statement to newsrooms, Interior PS Dr Raymond Omollo said the intensified crackdown targets particularly the producers, distributors and sellers of the illicit brews.

He said since the inception of the crackdown that is in its third month, over 1.7 million litres of the unregulated brews have been spilled and hard drugs worth millions of shillings netted.

Omollo said that the three months national wide crackdown is aimed at reducing the production and consumption of the illicit brews and bhang.

The PS said following early signs of success, the state has resolved to intensify the operation as it seeks to boost public health and upend the social and security challenges posed by the trade.

“We must disrupt the trade to stand any chance of breaking the chain of harm that is flowing from the production to the consumption of these deadly drinks,” the PS said.

He said according to the findings, kangara tops the list of the informal brews netted since January with over 1.6 million litres tipped so far.

Chang’aa and busaa, whose figures in the ongoing operation stand at 330,824 litres and 112,915 litres respectively, are also popular bootleg liquors among brewers and consumers.

Nyanza and North Eastern led with the highest number of illicit brews with over 650,000 litres spilled while Central and Eastern region topped the cannabis list majority of it being in rolls.

A total of 347,944 rolls, stones and stems of cannabis was seized majorly from Eastern, Central and Rift Valley region making it a major cause of concern.

“These figures speak volumes about what we’re dealing with as a country. Therefore, we must disrupt the trade to stand any chance of breaking the chain of harm that is flowing from the production to the consumption of these deadly drugs.”

He said in the crackdown, they are prioritising evidence-based approaches and the need to work together in harm reduction strategies that include investing in education, healthcare, job-creation, and social programs to help our people make wiser choices.

Last Sunday Deputy President said Kenya Kwanza’s regime would use all measures at its disposal to deal with the illicit brews and drug abuse issue.

“The government will not allow our young men to perish. I therefore urge all chiefs to provide a list of everyone who is involved in this business. They should make four copies, one for themselves and the rest to be given to respective County Commissioners, OCS and Assistant County Commissioners. That way, we will able to deal with this issue fast,” Gachagua said at an interview with Inooro TV.