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Crying over spilt spirits

STUDIES
By | May 17th 2010

By Boniface Gikandi

You could have been forgiven for thinking that the men crying at the gates of Murang’a South District headquarters were mourning a departed friend. Still, what they were witnessing was to them almost as painful as the death of a loved one.

The men had turned up at the district administration offices with plastic bottles, polythene bags and tins, hoping that the DC might have a change of heart and let them have the more than 2,000 litres of illicit liquor nabbed in the district by the Kenya Bureau of Standards officers, instead of destroying it.

Most of them were matatu drivers and touts operating from Kenol township’s main bus terminus, and one could feel their loss as they wept freely and beseeched the DC not to set the liquor ablaze.

Fake kebs stamps

"I beg you in the name of my dead mother Wanjiru not to destroy the liquor but to give it to us instead. It is harmless and I don’t understand why you should be such a sadist as to destroy it while there are people who need it," one of the men cried out.

The liquor had been packed in plastic bottles and put in 350 cartons emblazoned with fake Kebs stamps to make them appear genuine.

The men insisted that they had taken the brew for long and had never heard anyone complain even of a mild stomach ache contrary to the DC’s assertion that it was harmful to humans.

"How would you feel if someone met you in a hotel taking your favourite food and snatched it from you and destroyed it?" another tout pleaded. He declared that if the drinks being destroyed were bad for their health, they were ready to append their signatures committing themselves to absolve the DC from blame should there be consequences after consuming it.

Nation building

Some of the men could not bear watching the "senseless destruction" and attempted to put out the fire, but AP officers were at hand to deal with them.

"You can see this brew is burning on its own. It contains a lot of explosive chemicals and that is exactly how it burns your insides," the DC told the men. He termed them slaves to alcohol who were no longer concerned about nation building and had abdicated their parental and marital obligations causing their wives to hold mass demonstrations daily.

But it was apparent that this was falling on deaf ears as the men just clicked their tongues and looked on in anger.

Only the threat of being shot by the AP officers thwarted the efforts of some men who attempted to salvage a bottle or two from the inferno.

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