Mututho: Banning alcohol will kill more people than Covid-19
The former chairman of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) John Mututho on Wednesday warned that the move by government to limit alcoholic drinks to homes may lead to the death of addicts.
Former Naivasha MP argued that the ban might lead to more deaths compared to Covid-19, which has so far claimed 260 as of Wednesday.
“It is a fact that liquor has killed many and destroyed families, but the current proposal to ban its sale will lead to high mortality among the addicts,” Mututho warned.
He also said that proposal by the Ministry of Health to ban the consumption of alcohol inside bars and entertainment zones would dent NACADA’s effort to fight consumption of illicit brews.
He wondered how the government will control the more than eight million addicts who cannot do without their daily dose of the substances.
“How will you control them? By way of gazzete notice?” Mututho posed while urging those in charge at the Ministry of Health to consult NACADA despite there being bad blood.
The ban, which currently is at the consultation stage, will affect restaurants, eateries, bars, food courts, entertainment joints, supermarkets, liquor shops and any other business establishment.
The proposed Covid-19 Sale of Alcoholic Drinks Rules 2020, provide that businesses, where alcohol is sold, will operate between 9am-7:30pm.
“A person who commits an offence under these rules shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both,” reads part of the Public Health Act statement.
Kenya has recorded an upsurge in the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 cases since the government relaxed the containment measures.
The proposed rules on ban the sale of alcohol has however been opposed by restaurant operators and leading manufacturers and distributors of alcoholic beverages, who have termed the proposal punitive.
“Few isolated incidents that have breached the law are a small percentage. They should not be a collective punishment to all eateries and restaurants,” Pub entertainment and restaurants association (PERAK) national chairman Alice Opee said on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, Kenya had recorded 14,805 cases of the new coronavirus after 637 people tested positive between Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to a national survey conducted by NACADA in 2017, alcohol was cited as the most used substance of abuse with 12.2 per cent of persons aged 15 – 65 being active consumers.
Alcohol use also contributes to the highest burden of substance use disorders with 10.4 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 65 years being addicted to it. It added that four out of every 100 people lose their lives in Kenya as a result of alcohol abuse.