Stop sabotaging war on alcohol, DP Gachagua tells Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses wananchi in Nyeri town on June 15, 2024.

Photo credit: JOSEPH KANYI | NATION

The ongoing multi-agency fight against alcoholism in Mathira, Nyeri County, has taken a new political turn with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua accusing the area Member of Parliament Eric Wamumbi of issuing "illegal" instructions.

He said the MP's directive to reopen bars was part of a wider political plot to undermine him.

This comes barely a week after more than 400 bars were reopened, reportedly at the behest of the area legislator, who told bar owners during a meeting that he had spoken to some 'higher' authorities who had given him the go-ahead to 'help' them.

Hundreds of bars in Mathira have closed in the past four months as the government has stepped up its fight against alcoholism in the country. 

While speaking at Kiamariga market during a service at PEFA church a walking distance from his village of Wamunyoro on Sunday, July 7, Mr Gachagua took on Mr Wamumbi, his political ally turned enemy, accusing him of sabotaging his fight against alcoholism.

"It is unbelievable that a person I assisted to win the Mathira parliamentary seat has now turned against me, how can he give instructions to security agencies to reopen bars? Let me tell them that whatever instructions he gave are illegal and I am not aware of any Cabinet decision to reopen bars in the area," he said

Mr Gachagua accused Mr Wamumbi' of "lying" to the bar owners that he had talked to some "higher" authorities who gave him the go-ahead to "assist" them.

"Those instructions are illegal and are part of political schemes that are going on in this country, those schemes are destroying the country and I would like to tell those behind them to stop it" he said

Mathira is the backyard of the DP who has been tasked to spearhead the campaign by President William Ruto to fight alcoholism in the country.

"I am prepared to lose my job as deputy president if it means saving our nation from this menace. I was not born in the position of deputy president, I only recently got it. It is not a must that I remain there forever, leading a nation of drunkards is no honour," he said.

A spot check by the Nation in various towns and shopping centres in the area revealed that the worst affected were those close to schools and churches, as well as those located in residential areas, in line with recent government regulations that require bars near such intuitions to be closed.

Last week, beer lovers and bar owners rejoiced as outlets reopened after a four-month "dry spell", but the celebrations appear to have been short-lived following the latest development.