18,650 unlicensed liquor outlets closed in national crackdown: Kindiki

The government has closed 18,650 liquor outlets in its ongoing fight against illegal killer brews and narcotics.

6,500 premises had valid licences but were found to be in breach of the Alcohol Control Act. A further 12,150 outlets were operating without licences.

14 distilleries found to be operating outside the law have also been closed and their equipment destroyed, according to Interior Cabinet Secretary Professor Kithure Kindiki.

Speaking during his visit to Kisii Main Prison on Monday morning, the CS said this time the government was determined to eradicate the menace once and for all by applying the law firmly.

“In the past whenever we were doing this, we were only doing it for a few months and then went back to factory settings. But this time round, we have decided to sustain the war on a permanent basis the way we have sustained the war on other serious national security threats,” Professor Kindiki said.

The CS added, ‘poisonous drinks and other drugs are destroying the best of Kenya’s population. They are making our young people unproductive socially and economically. They are driving up crime and I want to confirm that since we started the crackdown on March 7, there has been a reduction in reported crime across the country.

Professor Kindiki urged Kenyans, especially the youth, to engage in other productive activities instead of wasting their lives on drugs and substance abuse.

“We want to secure our country, but we also want our people to engage in productive activities. When they wake up, not to go and look for poison themselves, not to go and look for drugs. But we want them when they wake up to go and struggle to feed their families by finding something to do,” the CS said.

Professor Kindiki said the excuse of unemployment could not be used to condone the kind of behaviour observed among the youth in both urban and rural centres.

In Kisii, the CS noted that 95 suspects had been arrested and charged in the ongoing nationwide crackdown.

“We have also managed to seize about 40,000 litres of illegal poisonous drinks. We have also been able to destroy a number of illegal breweries and premises selling illegal drinks,” Professor Kindiki added.

The CS took the opportunity to respond to recent incidents of political intolerance in Kisii, warning those behind them that the law will soon catch up with them.

“No one will be allowed to engage in lawlessness, breach of the peace or disruption of public meetings. Those leaders who are using our young men and women to cause chaos and violence in meetings, we say we will arrest them all,” Professor Kindiki said.

He revealed that they have made good progress with investigations and will arrest those who have been fomenting and financing political violence in the county to serve as a deterrent to such activities.
Professor Kindiki said plans to relocate Kisii Main Prison out of town were nearing completion and urged the county government to work with them to ensure the process was seamless.

The decision to move the prison was taken after President William Ruto came to power to free up more land for the expansion of Kisii town.

The prison will be built in the Nyanturago area of Nyaribari Chache County.

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