Gachagua to lead Central Kenya fight against alcohol, substance abuse

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has joined Central Kenya leaders in calling for an end to alcohol and substance abuse in the region.

DP Gachagua said Friday that he will meet leaders from the region to discuss how to fight the illicit brew andd substance abuse menace.

“I will call a meeting in Nyeri County, of leaders from the five counties of Central Kenya, in two weeks. We will discuss the alcoholism menace and come up with a decision. We will make an announcement,” he said during a dinner event in Kiambu County.

The most affected counties include Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri, Nyandarua and Kirinyaga.

DP Gachagua’s meeting will be with leaders including senators, governors, county commanders, the regional commander and coordinator and commissioners.

Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni Wamuchoma, who hosted the dinner, said the county was rehabilitating the youth from the region by equipping them with life skills.

Ms Muchomba said rehabilitated youths were then being trained for jobs secured abroad under a memorandum of understanding between the Mount Kenya University and companies in Germany, which require specific skills.

"We want to promote local farmers and provide our youth with an opportunity to build their lives. We plan to source food from Githunguri farmers as part of improving the nutrition levels and helping our people,” she added.

Mr Gachagua’s remarks come two months after he announced the enforcement of a directive for one bar per town in the Central Kenya region.

Meanwhile, Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has proposed an amendment to the law for the price of a quarter a litre of wines and spirits (250ml) to be capped at Sh300.

The proposals are in the wake of increased alcohol consumption, according to a recent report by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada).

The report ranks Central Kenya as the region with the highest level of alcohol consumption. At least 12.8 per cent of residents aged between 15 and 65 consume alcohol, compared to a national rate of 11.8 percent.

While the national use of portable spirits, which are among illicit brews, stands at 2.5 percent, in Central Kenya, the rate is 4.1 percent.

The report also indicates that despite the increase in alcohol consumption,  public rehabilitation facilities are few, leading to an increase in the number of people with alcohol-related disorders. In addition, most of the rehabilitation facilities are expensive.

The number of cases of alcohol-related disorders is 3,199,119, while the abuse of any one substance has resulted in 4,733,152 cases of disorders.

Additional reporting by the Deputy President’s Communication Service (DPCS)