Kwale County Commissioner (CC) Gideon Nyandiricha Oyagi has directed security agencies to severely combat the sale and consumption of substandard and counterfeit beverages in the area.
Oyagi expressed concern about the growing threat of substandard and counterfeit alcoholic beverages.
The administrator spoke about eliminating substandard and counterfeit beverages during the launch of a 30-day Rapid Results Initiative (RRI).
The county commissioner found that illegal alcohol, drug and drug abuse has ravaged the county’s economy and security should ensure the vice is eliminated.
“Illegal and low-quality alcohol brings our economy to a standstill, the government loses a lot of money because the people involved do not pay taxes,” said Onyagi.
He said the RRI program will also raise awareness of the manufacture, sale and use of unauthorized alcohol.
In addition, the initiative will focus more on identifying business people who have violated regulations by the National Agency for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) and other regulatory agencies.
The CC said the program will bring major stakeholders such as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on board and ensure that all bars and liquor centers are fully compliant.
Onyagi made it clear that the war on the illegal brew must not be used as a means to persecute alcohol users; Instead, it will focus more on keeping the industry safe.
The CC warned bar, wine and liquor owners who failed to adhere to Covid-19 protocols and promised to take tough action, including revoking operating licenses.
” Some bars do their business beyond the required time. Owners of such facilities will face the law. Nobody is above the law, ”said Onyagi.
Onyagi urged local residents to work with local administrators and security guards to ensure that misdirected business personnel are held accountable.
He added that some liquor centers were being used by criminals as hiding places, creating a major challenge for the county’s development. “People have been terrorized by criminals who escaped the security radar because of the illegal bars and restaurants,” Onyagi added.
The county commissioner asked the Kenya Revenue Authority, the County Government of Kwale, the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority to ensure that all loopholes are closed.
He insisted that the war on the illegal brew can only be won if everyone involved works together.
The administrator said it is unfortunate that youth in the county are drowning in drug and substance abuse.
He found that hard drug use had increased dramatically, making a large percentage of youth unproductive.
He said the RRI would develop a special program to educate young people about the dangers of using banned drugs and substances.
In addition, Naibu Nyahi, a member of Kwale County’s Executive Committee on Tourism, Trade and Business Development, said the county government will revoke all bars, wine and liquor licenses that violate alcoholic regulations.
“We have built a drug rehabilitation center in Kombani and the progress is positive, some addicted youngsters have been rescued from this vice. We are still working on some plans to make sure we have rehabilitation centers in each subdistrict, ”added Nyahi.
The district executive said the Covid-19 restrictions in bars are encouraging the consumption of dangerous illegal brews.
Coast Regional Manager for NACADA, George Karissa, said there had been worrying reports of elementary school children implicated in the drug saga.
He added that the agency had developed a strategy to tackle the vice in elementary school.
“We fear that our young generation is slowly being destroyed by this poison. We have to be very innovative and fight this habit, ”said Karissa.
The Coast NACADA manager noted that the agency worked with the Department of Education to present topics addressing drug and substance abuse.
“The school life skills program, which previously focused on HIV / AIDS, will include classes on substance abuse. Such awareness will help children understand the dangers posed by banned substances, ”he said.
He said youth drug abuse has reached “catastrophic levels” and there is a need to involve various stakeholders and step up campaigns to stamp out the vice in communities.
Karissa called on the government and society to view drug addiction as a disease and to find a suitable cure for it, and called for the active participation of community members in the fight against drug abuse in order to save an entire young generation from doom.
He urged wine and spirits owners to strictly adhere to the terms of their licenses.
He found that most of them have allowed their customers to sell their products on-site rather than buy them to take away.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi