Taita-Taveta governor John Mruttu got a sobering experience when he came face to face with the illicit brew menace at the Maweni slums in Voi sub-county.
The governor who led a team of security officers and local leaders from Voi sub-county during the raid that caught most drunkards unawares, was greeted by a mixture of jubilation and catcalls by mostly drunk slum dwellers some of whom have never seen such a high powered security raid in the slums.
“I cannot do my work as an electrician until I unlock the system. I am totally addicted to these brews and if I stop, I might fail to work or even die of withdrawal symptoms,” said one drunk.”Lazima nifungue lock ndio nianze kazi,” he said as media cameras rolled.
There was drama when one drunk villager came from behind and snatched away a one litre bottle of mnazi from the hands of security enforcement officers and melted into the slums leaving even security officers reeling in laughter.
However, compared to other raids in some parts of the country where thousands of litres of illicit brews have been destroyed, the Voi raid might pass only as a PR gimmick occasioned by the declaration of illicit brews as a national disaster by the national government.
Meanwhile the Kenya Bureau of Standards has upped the ante in the war against illicit brews countrywide.
“We are working around the clock to ensure that second generation brews are wiped out and that only drinks fully certified by KEBS find their way into the market,” said Wisdom Mwamburi a director with KEBS.
Mwamburi pointed out that among the actions they were taking was to make the KEBS logo tamperproof so that it cannot be counterfeited by unscrupulous brew dealers.
“We are also fighting hard to seal all porous border points where chemicals like methanol which are being sold as drinks find their way into the country,” said Mwamburi, a former DC.
He also pointed out that the government was also lacing methanol with a bitter and repulsive chemical so that it would be unfit for human consumption rendering it fit only for industrial use.
Saying that a drinking nation is a sinking nation, Mwamburi pointed out that the war against illicit brew might finally be won given the political goodwill from leaders across the country.