Home NEWS Local News Government declares war on illicit alcohol, narcotics in Coast region

Government declares war on illicit alcohol, narcotics in Coast region

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has directed the Coast Regional Security team, led by the Coordinator Rhoda Onyancha, to arrest and prosecute barons of narcotics and illicit brews within two weeks as the government declared total war on menace.

Mr Gachagua challenged leaders from the Coast to boldly speak out against the sale and abuse of drugs which is so rampant at the region and threatens to ruin a whole generation. The Coast, for years a transit region is a thriving destination for hard drugs.

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“There is a lot of impunity where hard drugs are sold in the open. This situation is unacceptable. Why are you (political leaders) so quiet when there is a serious problem with the people you lead? Are you scared of drug barons while our children are being killed and destroyed as others turn into zombies?” the DP posed. He asked the leaders to do all it takes to safeguard and protect the people, particularly the youth.

“These concerns should be coming from you; you should be calling for help from the National Government.”

He spoke in Mombasa when leading multi-agency stakeholders in discussing a common strategy on ending consumption of alcohol and drug abuse in the region, the Deputy President said the Ruto Administration will not tolerate laxity from State officers in this war.

“The narcotics situation in the Coast Region is unacceptable. Within two weeks, we want to see drug barons prosecuted. We want these people in court,” he said at the fourth forum he hosted.

Gachagua also directed security officers to reign in on juvenile panga and knife-wilding-gangs gangs-terrorising residents, especially in Mombasa. He said it was a shame that they had been unable to contain the criminals.

“Lack of jobs is not a license to criminality. It is unacceptable. We have a government in place. You have officers under you. Deal with the matter decisively or go home,” Mr

The Deputy President cautioned that officers who will continue protecting barons and peddlers of narcotics will be removed from the National Police Service and be prosecuted.

“Brewers of poisonous alcohol, drug peddlers and barons belong in jail. State officers abetting this illegal trade have no room under the Ruto Administration. Your time is up. You have two choices- you work or walk away,” he said.

Mr Gachagua was concerned that despite the region being top in the country with more than 18,000 people using injectable drugs, the leadership is not speaking out against narcotics.

He, however, singled out Nyali MP Mohamed Ali and his Lamu East counterpart for calling for help in eradicating drugs in the region.

While saying the National Government is ready to take on drug barons, the Deputy President said the political leaders must oversight the police and other relevant agencies to ensure they are effective in the war on drugs.

He asked the security officials to work with other agencies in surveillance and prosecution and conviction of drug barons, peddlers and sellers of illicit brew.

“Our porous borders and the open seas are under sharp focus. Rogue security and officers of other State agencies have been compromised in corruption by Merchants of Death for far too long,” the Deputy President said.

As the war commenced, Mr Gachagua asked the counties to establish rehabilitation centres to complement the two public facilities in Mombasa County and Kwale County saying private institutions are too expensive for most families. This he said will support the recovery process.

“In the six Counties, we only have two public rehabilitation centres – Miritini Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Mombasa, which is run by NACADA and the Kwale County Government Rehabilitation Centre at Kombani. I challenge Counties to channel revenue collected from alcoholic drinks licenses into building and equipping rehabilitation centres,” the Deputy President said.

Mr Gachagu also called on the counties to enact a specific legal framework for a structured way of containing hard drugs.

Cabinet Secretary for Interior Kithure Kindiki called the narcotics issue a crisis and warned police offers against protecting barons.

“Why should we keep you if you receive money and look away as crimes are committed?” he asked.

The Cabinet Secretary said corrupt Government Officers and barons are a threat to national security and they will be treated as terrorists, extremists, and bandits.

Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhsumicha (Health) and Aisha Jumwa (Gender and Culture) said narcotics are causing a rise in HIV/AIDS cases besides teenage pregnancies and domestic violence.

In Kenya, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among people injecting drugs is 18.7% against 4.3% among the general population. This is about 4-5 times the risk of contracting the virus through sharing needles and syringes.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education Ezekiel Machogu said learning has also been negatively affected as children as low as 11 years are engaging in hard drugs.

On the other hand, the Cabinet Secretary for Mining and Blue Economy Salim Mvurya said surveillance is being enhanced on the sea entry points and borders.

The Governor of Kwale Fatuma Achani and his Taita Taveta counterpart Andrew Mwadime welcome the National Government into the war on illicit brews and narcotics, saying it complements their ongoing work.

The Inspector of Police challenged the governors not to shy away from tackling the menace for fear of losing votes as the future of the region and nation are at stake.

The Senate Speaker Amason Kingi also welcomed the fresh war on illegal alcohol and drug abuse saying this will restore the dignity of the people of the Coast Region.

The leaders praised the Spouse of Deputy President Dorcas Rigathi for robust rehabilitation programmes at the Coast Region, which they said are restoring dignity to those affected.

According to NACADA, alcohol consumption in the Coast Region stands at 13.9% against a national average of 11.9%. The youth, between 15 years and 35, are the most affected.

Between January and September 2023, over 160,000 litres of illegal poisonous brews were nabbed.

Kilifi County has the highest usage of packaged and traditional alcohol while Mombasa is leading in consumption of chang’aa.

Taita Taveta has the highest usage of second-generation alcohol.

Nationally, about 26,673 people inject themselves with heroin, cocaine and other drugs. Of these, 89% are youthful men. Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi are among the top five Counties in the country accounting for 43% of people who inject themselves with drugs. The other two are Nairobi and Kiambu.

Other leaders who accompanied the President include Principal Secretaries Dr Raymond Omollo (Internal Security), Mary Muthoni (Public Health), Mohammed Daghar (Transport), Teresia Mbaika (Devolution), Raphael Munyua (Deputy Governor Lamu) and Francis Thoya (Deputy Governor, Mombasa).

Other agencies represented include NACADA, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Authority, Kenya Veterinary Board, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Kenya Coast Guard, and Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, among others.

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