Nairobi News

General

Don’t wait until people die. Time to act is now

The nation this week woke up to the shocking news that 76 people had died after drinking illicit brews.

The killer brews, known variously as Kumi Kumi, Wings, Moonshine, Kathavuria and Countryman are said to have been laced with deadly chemicals, supposedly to increase their potency.

Surprisingly, of the 76 who lost their lives, there was no mention of the six who died in Connections, Embakasi. They were said to have taken the liquor called Wings, which had been smuggled from a distillery in Ruai by one of the employees, who was among the victims.

It was not until the story was carried by NairobiNews that police swung into action, storming the distillery to arrest the proprietors. As expected, they had already gone into hiding.

It later emerged that police had earlier arrested the owner of the den where the six victims consumed the killer brew. For some unexplained reasons, the man was released after paying a Sh10,000 cash bond.

Reports indicate he has since gone underground, obviously aware of the severity of the sentence he is likely to get if he is taken to court and charged with killing the six and blinding two others.

The fact that the death of the six could have gone unnoticed speaks volumes about the casual approach authorities have towards the wellbeing of city residents.

Yet statistics from the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) have consistently ranked Nairobi as having the highest number of distilleries specialising in cheap liquor.

One wonders whether the regulatory bodies including the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and even Nacada ever inspect these distilleries to check the quality of the drink they make and sell to the low end consumer in the city and its surroundings.

When contacted for comment Kebs said the drink is uninspected meaning the alcohol quantities are unknown.

Why should the regulatory body wait until people die to issue such a statement? Does Kebs have inspectors to tell which drinks are safe?

It is high time authorities, including the police, the regulatory bodies and the county government moved quickly to crack down on the distilleries, many of them illegal, mushrooming in virtually every corner of the county.