Captions:Newton Mwangemi is assisted to take milk by villagers after being found unconscious by the roadside.
Voi MP Johnes Mlolwa
Ngolia Ward MCA Johnes Mghanga.
The war against illicit brews in Voi sub-county, Taita-Taveta county began on the wrong footing after a man reported to be a seller of illicit liquor was arrested, beaten up and left by the roadside by administration police officers.
The incident which occurred at Wongonyi village drew condemnation from local leaders and wananchi after it emerged that the villager identified as Newton Mwangemi was arrested at dawn by police officers in the company of a local chief on charges of being a bootleg brew dealer.
However, Mwangemi was later found by the roadside unconscious with injuries on the head and torso despite the fact that he was sober at the time of his arrest.
“When the police officers and the chief came to our home at 5.30 in the morning they claimed that they were looking for illicit brews. But when they searched our house they did not find any drinks but insisted that my father should accompany them so that he could assist them in identifying other brew sellers,” Mwangemi’s son Liverson told i-mpact news.
A close neighbour to the victim Maringoya Ali also confirmed that when police took Mwangemi away he was sober contrary to their version of the story that Mwangemi got excessively drunk along the way.
Though the chief Eliud Majani could not be reached to comment on the issue on the telephone his assistant from the area Ezekiel Lundi told journalists that Mwangemi got drunk from the exhibits that had been impounded from other brewers, a statement that leaders dismissed as unbelievable.
“How can a suspect in the hands of police officers be allowed to get drunk from alcohol impounded as exhibits during a raid? It does not make sense at all and we are demanding thorough investigations,” said area MCA Johnes Mghanga.
Describing the incident as unfortunate, Voi MP Johnes Mlowa asked the government to release a list of all illicit brews that should be netted in the crackdown to avoid the whole exercise being turned into a witch hunt by corrupt police officers and chiefs out to solicit for bribes.
“We understand that some brews are from licenced dealers and impounding them will lead to huge losses to the affected businesses. It’s only wise for the government to release a list of all the condemned brews so that they can be impounded”, said Mlolwa.