What you need to know:
- Among them were Gladys Wambui Njoroge, 35; Michael Kamau, 70; a teacher known as Mr Muchoki and a casual labourer Mr Mburu.
- They died after consuming an illicit brew, a drink that goes by the name of Jebel Vodka, sold at Sh100 per bottle of about 150ml.
- Wednesday, the bar that sold the drink and allegedly belonged to Mr Michael Kamau a retiree and one of the deceased, remained shut.
- Neighbours say Wambui begun screaming on Sunday of stomach pains and was rushed to Thika Level Five Hospital where she died.
About seven people met a pub in Katipanga village, Murang’a County on Friday November 21 for an evening of drinks.
However by Monday November 24, four of them had died.
Among them were Gladys Wambui Njoroge, 35; Michael Kamau, 70; a teacher known as Mr Muchoki and a casual labourer Mr Mburu.
They died after consuming an illicit brew, a drink that goes by the name of Jebel vodka, sold at Sh100 per bottle of about 150ml.
Wednesday, the bar that sold the drink and allegedly belonged to Mr Michael Kamau a retiree and one of the deceased, remained shut, the entire area shrouded in silence.
But about five kilometers from the shopping centre, a speaker is blaring some music. Friends and family have gathered in tents to console Mr Kamau’s family.
Mr Julius Karuga, the eldest of Mr Kamau’s five children stands next to his weeping mother Jacinta Nyambura, by the family water well.
HUSBAND'S LAST MOMENTS
She narrates her husband’s last moments: “He went out to drink on Friday and came back as usual. He did not complain of any pain.
On Sunday, while at a nearby home for a party, one of my children called me, they said their father was unwell.”
He complained of dizziness and difficulty in breathing.
“We rushed him to Kenol Hospital and later transferred him to Thika Level Five Hospital at around 6.30pm and shortly after, he died,” she said. Mr Kamau, will be buried on Friday.
A short distance is the home of Mr Muchoki, a teacher of Thangira Primary School.
His home was enveloped in silence.
Some of his children were in the compound but could not speak to journalists about their father’s death or divulge any information about him.
While they said their father drank the brew, they denied it caused his death.
RUSHHED TO HOSPITAL
“Father fell ill on Sunday, we rushed him to hospital at Kenol where the doctor said he had some infection and would get better but he died on Monday at Thika Level 5 Hospital where he was transferred,” said one of the sons who refused to give his name.
At Gladys Wambui’s home, a stone’s throw away from the bar, there is little activity.
Her 13 year-old son is oblivious of the fateful events and doesn’t understand why his mother is not at home.
His elder brother who is 18 years is also away.
Their grandmother Jane Njoroge is distraught with the loss of her daughter, who was a businesswoman.
She said: “I mourn her loss because it has affected everyone especially her children. We will bury her on Friday. Her body is lying at Kenyatta University Mortuary.”
Neighbours say Wambui begun screaming on Sunday of stomach pains and was rushed to Thika Level Five Hospital where she died.
FOURTH VICTIM LITTLE KNOWN
Little is known about the fourth person who died, who is only identified as Mburu.
He is said to have been a casual labourer in the village.
He fell ill after Friday’s drinking session and was taken to Muranga hospital where he passed away, on Tuesday.
The other three revellers could not be reached to establish how they were fairing.
Interestingly, the bar where the seven victims took the lethal drink is adjacent to the area chief’s camp.
The alcoholic drink which claimed the four lives is said to have been sold at Sh100 per bottle of about 150ml.
DISPOSED IN LATRINE
A search in the shelves of the bars in the areas did not have the drink as some residents, afraid of arrests if they identified themselves, said the killer brew was brewed locally and the remaining liquor was later disposed in a pit latrine.
Deaths from illicit brew have been rampant in recent times.
In May 2014, over 50 people were killed in Makueni, Embu, Kiambu, Kitui and Murang’a Counties after consuming alcohol laced with methanol.
This led to the interdiction of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) CEO Dr William Okedi as well as local administrators in the affected regions.
Furthermore, Nacada called for the fresh testing, registration and licencing of alcoholic drinks.