The streets are quitter, no drunk ninja on the pit, no insults or commotion of drunks trying to show off who is stronger, no foul smell of urine on the paths and I see smiles on some wives since history has been made (Mzee decided to be home early in sobriety, slept in his bed and was not awakening neighbors with the heavy knocks in the wee hours. Must have been the community’s alarm clock).
3rd July the government embarked on a crackdown of the notorious illicit brew dens. Having brought nothing but loss to families, from the young to the old, enough was enough. However, this was not the first raid if my memory serves me right. There has been war in the past but deaf ears neither hear. A drinking nation we have become.
Unemployment has forced many to use crude ways to earn a living not been human at all if they kill an entire generation. Poverty levels been on the rise, depending on less than a dollar a day; not many can afford that Guinness, Jameson, Tusker opting for the cheapest deadly drink. I hear it can cost one even ten shillings!
Coming to the business sector, the wines and spirits are booming. In every corridor of an apartment there are about five wines and spirits businesses that do hard drinks. Prior to that most do not even own a license and some drinks are not recognized by the Kenya Bureau of Standards. Such businesses do not come to existence as trial and error, nuh aaah, drinking seems to be on demand than any other good in the market, no wonder the high investment.
Way back Nation Television once highlighted the preparation of some illicit brew. Rusty containers, use of anti-virus drugs…… Gross was what I called it and bearing in mind the process involved, only a daring devil can go back and consume it. Bearing in mind the repercussion they bring forth from kidney problems, loss of sight, impotence to name a few, thorough sensitization needs to be done to raise awareness.
Illicit Brew River was quickly coming to formation as authorities went by in counties pouring these brews. Businesses remained closed as others ran for their dear lives. To others, it was the loss of a livelihood they depended upon and were cursing not even ashamed that selfish motives to make decent earnings while sweeping away lives, was their norm.
Mututho law has received much embracement since it came to be in 2010 as the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act. Having been named after John Mututho who initiated it, now the NACADA chairman, drinking hours and regulations were enacted. This foresaw many bars opening after 5pm in the evening hence drinking stopped been the order of the day. Those were the licensed bars and the illicit brew trade cropped up since it operated 24/7.
Fighting a drinking nation is harder than fighting terrorists. The population meant to bring development is brainwashed by substances that continue to wipe them away each moment it gets. No functioning can happen without a sip of it. Addiction. Crying to the government every now and then without proper say is bullshit. If you are able to make illicit brew then I think you have the necessary skills to start a proper business elsewhere. Each dawn, each sunset, counting hours, all spent at the drinking den with the meager earnings. If you save that shilling, believe me starting that small business if you approach relevant stakeholders to top up the rest of the funds is not difficult. You never accomplished your secondary or primary level of education but that shall not hinder you from making life worth living. I see a lot of people making it, if only you awake from your comfort zone.
My local radio station made my day as a group of kids narrated a poem in my mother tongue, thanking the government since they never saw their father and yet lived on the same roof. Reasons being the kid would leave his papa in bed while he went to school and in the evening would not find him. He would later come home drunk asking if his goats that he neither fed nor gave them water had been locked in at their pen. The usual breakfast was strong tea (boiled water topped up with tea leaves), referred to his wife as cow, and the child would wonder where this cow was in the morning when he needed that tea… (Sarcasm).
The embargo continues and in a nation where people like repeating the same mistakes as if testing the waters, hope this shall not be. We shall work hand in hand with the government and support it as it tries to improve our welfare. Let us put to shame illicit brews.