From academic giant to battle with alcoholism: Andrew Mwengwa’s story of redemption and hope

After triumphantly emerging as the 16th position countrywide in the 2000 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams, scoring a straight A, Andrew Mwengwa Githuka, a resident of Mang’u village in Gatundu North, Kiambu County, chose the wrong path of alcoholism.

Mwengwa’s love for drinking became a lifestyle that cemented his relationship with fellow alcoholics.

At a young age, the bright youngster was admitted to Moi University to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine, but his stay at the higher learning institution could not last long as his uptake of alcohol and drug abuse only worsened.

His unembellished addiction to alcohol and other outlawed substances led to his suspension from the institution for three years as a corrective measure and to avert the possibility of him luring more students into his school of indiscipline and lawlessness.

As the surest exhibition of his carelessness, Mwengwa prolonged his stay at home to five years to continue enjoying the substances he says gave him joy and connected him to a simple, less-thoughtful life.

Not worried about the repercussions, Mwengwa resumed classes in 2010 but continued to consume the outlawed substances, which further saw him defer his medical studies until 2015 when he made a decision to stop alcohol.

Twenty years after proving his academic worth and putting his small undeveloped village and impoverished community on the map, Mwengwa came back to his senses, making his story a fall from grace to grass but with a beautiful ending.

The bright man, who has since graduated from Mount Kenya University where he pursued his medicine degree as a parallel student, opened up that life has since changed for the better, and now he traverses institutions of learning to sensitize learners on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

He has also committed to supporting needy students with scholarships to help them pursue their dreams.

Speaking when he gathered with community members he grew up with, Mwengwa, a born-again Christian, instilled hope in drugs and alcohol-addicted persons, saying that all is not lost, and with a firm decision to leave the imprisonment, anybody can stay away from the menace.

Since he reconsidered his decision to become a slave to alcohol, Mwengwa has transformed over 200 lives, with some of the people who have gone through his hands now taking degree courses locally and internationally.

As the fight against alcoholism in the Central region and across the country begins to take shape, with top government leaders having declared war against the menace, residents continue to express their fury at how the challenge has negatively impacted their lives.

Njeri Muriithia, a resident of Ruiru, says the menace has not only rendered youths into zombies but has also made them unproductive, leaving their parents and community members crying over a generation that is at the verge of being wiped out.

Muriithia, however, noted that all is not lost, and reading from the life of Mwengwa, even the addicted youths can be made productive after rehabilitation.

Her sentiments were echoed by Cyrus Gachiki and Heho Githuka, who sensitized the youth on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

The two youngsters at the same time rooted for concerted communal efforts in fighting the menace, which they said cannot be left in the hands of the government alone.

In what has been described as an epidemic, the high uptake of alcohol and abuse of drugs across the country has been blamed on the high number of unregulated bars and pubs and an influx of cheap, illicit brews.

After meeting elected leaders alongside local administration officers from Central Region late this week, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua stated that the government with harshly deal with anyone who derails efforts to fight illicit brew and drug abuse

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