Drinking figures that startled Uhuru into action
President Uhuru Kenyatta made the unprecedented directive to MPs to personally lead the war against alcohol abuse in central Kenya due to shocking figures about the vice’s prevalence in the region.
The Saturday Nation can now reveal that the President was stunned by the increasing consumption of illegal alcoholic drinks, as contained in baseline survey conducted by the National Authority on the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) and the University of Nairobi.
The survey rated Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Murang’a as the worst affected counties with 75.8 per cent of alcohol users in Kiambu consuming illegal brews on a daily basis.
In Nyeri and Kirinyaga, 61 per cent of drinkers did it daily followed by Thika (54.2), Murang’a (50.8), Maragua (38.5) and Nyandarua (31).
In the same region, 62.6 per cent of road accidents were attributed to drunkenness.
The drinks were taking a toll on women with 66.7 per cent of women in Kirinyaga County consuming traditional liquor followed by 58.8 per cent who are hooked to the illegal drinks.
At 92.8 per cent, Murang’a recorded the highest rate of increased use of the brews while the lowest usage was in Thika at 55 per cent.
Generally, use of the illicit brews among women was fast rising in the region, with 25 per cent preferring it due to availability and affordability compared to 43 per cent of the men.
Shockingly, women in Kirinyaga were the highest consumers of changa’a at 50 per cent while those who take traditional liquor was much higher at 66.7 per cent. 58.8 of the women took the illegal varieties.
The Nacada survey which seemed to rattle the President revealed that most of the drinking was being done before noon and past midnight.
Mr Kenyatta’s director of external communication, Mr Munyori Buku, confirmed that the President considers the alcohol menace a serious issue.
“This is a war the President is keen on. By involving MPs, he gives the political support the war needs.
“It is no longer a legal issue. He is personally monitoring the MPs’ action on it,” Mr Buku said.