Over 3000 non-compliant premises closed in the ongoing crackdown

President William Ruto chairs a Cabinet Meeting at State House, Nairobi. [PCS]

Over 3000 premises have been closed in the ongoing crackdown against illicit brews and drugs according to the Cabinet. Of the closed premises, 359 were pharmacies and chemists and 452 agro vets. 

This was revealed Wednesday in the Cabinet meeting which was chaired by President William Ruto where Cabinet was also briefed that 5,835 raids on illicit and narcotic premises have been conducted where 289,390 liters of illicit brews and 13198 liters of counterfeit alcohol were netted. 

 "Seven vessels for trafficking drugs, 3,602 rolls of bhang and 44 stones have been seized," read a Cabinet dispatch.

 The Ministry of Health, was at the same time directed to prepare a framework for rehabilitation wards in all Level 5 hospitals in bid to address the withdrawal symptoms by the alcoholic and drug  addicts where the Ministry will closely work with county governments and ensure each county has a rehabilitation centre.

This followed the endorsement of the measures taken by the Interior Ministry in the right against the killer brews and drugs which include a 21-day suspension of all the 52 licences and permits issued to manufacturers and distillers of second-generation alcohol, revocation of all bar licences issued by counties against the law and an audit of conflict of interest within the ranks of enforcement agencies.

Other measures are nationwide crackdowns on the sale, transportation, distribution and consumption of illicit brews and narcotic drugs.

 The Cabinet also resolved that any public officials who resist the measures against the fight against illicit brews and drugs will be violating Chapter Six of the Constitution and the laws on conflict of interest.

 These include officials in the National Police Service, National Administration, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, public health and public prosecution, among others.

 At the meeting, the ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Energy were directed to convene an inter-ministerial committee to deal with the invasion of the Prosophis Julifora tree commonly known as 'Mathenge'.

 "The tree is a menace in 22 counties and has led to the loss of grazing and farming lands, biodiversity, wetlands and national parks," the dispatch read in part. 

The inter-ministerial team was tasked with exploring opportunities that can be derived from the Mathenge tree. These include commercial opportunities in renewable energy, wood products and modern ways of using charcoal that do not emit carbon.

 The Cabinet was also briefed on the generation of hydropower and the status of water dams. The meeting was informed that there is a substantial rise of water levels at Masinga Dam, the main storage of the Seven Forks. 

 "Consequently, the prospects of generating cheaper hydropower are very high and thus cheaper prices for Kenyans, the dispatch read. 

 The meeting was also briefed on the World Bank's IDA 21 Replenishment Drive Summit to be held in Nairobi on April 28-29, 2024.

 The Cabinet was told that the meeting raises concessional financing for 72 countries and that Kenya would be able to access financing for implementing the pillars of the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda.

The Cabinet also addressed strategy on strengthening Safety in Short-Term Lease Facilities (AirBnBs),  Kenya Water Training and Research Institute Bill 202 building Resilient and Responsive Health System Projects.

Other issues addressed in the meeting included MoU Between the Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy and the Ministry of Investment of the United Arab Emirates, criteria Used to grant host country agreements to Inter-Governmental Organisations and External Agencies, development of the East African Community Zones Regulation and the EPZ Scheme in Kenya among others.