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Pokot elders join war on illicit brews

Pokot elders join war on illicit brews


Thursday, March 21, 2024

KNA by Anthony Melly

The fight against illicit brews, drugs, and substance abuse has received a major boost after Pokot Council of Elders supported the government’s efforts in tackling the menace.

In Ortum town, West Pokot County, the elders expressed their appreciation for the government’s efforts in intensifying the fight against the sale and consumption of deadly illicit brews, drugs, and substance abuse across the country.

Mastait Lokles, the chairman of Pokot South Council of Elders, conveyed the elders’ sentiments during a public baraza held on February 13, 2024 at Ortum Kachapin garden square.

With over 100 members attending the meeting, the chairman said the elders collectively decided to stop the sale and consumption of illicit drinks and illicit drugs to safeguard the community from destructive consequences associated with the consumption and use of illicit substances.

Elder Lokles stressed that many people in the Batei location have suffered for a long time as result of alcohol and drug abuse.

The elder said illicit beverages and drugs have resulted in fatalities, an increase in criminal activities such as theft, instances of prostitution, a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS, and cases of students dropping out of school.

He emphasized that vendors of illicit alcohol should be prohibited from operating as they have been responsible for ruining the lives of many young people, many of whom have abandoned their education due to addiction.

In his part, Batei Ward Council of Elders’ chairman Lokdosia Chepkeru highlighted that the illicit alcohol problem has caused family disputes, separations, and a heightened risk of HIV infection among individuals who consume these killer brews.

He stressed the importance of engaging in legal and meaningful business activities to improve one’s quality of life.Chepkeru recounted how women in the area who partake the illicit brews have resulted in instances of them sleeping outside their residences, leaving their children unattended.

“There is a need to eradicate illicit brews, illicit second-generation liquor, drugs and substance abuse within the county,” Elder Chepkeru said.

He highlighted that many young people who are a vital part of the workforce, have fallen ill and become unproductive due to the consumption of illicit drinks and drugs.

One Agnes Kimani pointed out the presence of dishonest traders who have been disregarding set regulations by selling unlicensed and illegal alcoholic drinks, urging the government to take strict action against such traders involved in illicit activities within the region.Another resident, Ann Lopun, expressed dismay over their daughters neglecting their children to spend most of their time in drinking dens.

Ms Lopun expressed her gratitude towards the government for taking strict action against illicit brew traders across the country and was optimistic that the establishments serving illegal liquor in their area would be eradicated.

Moses Khaemba, a Secretary and Licensing Officer at the West Pokot Liquor Licensing Board, emphasized that the board operates in accordance with the law established by an Act of 2015 passed by the West Pokot County assembly.

Khaemba elaborated on the Act’s requirement for the board to issue licenses to alcoholic vendors who have valid licenses and traded in legitimate products by operating within the law.

In the region of Lelan ward, particularly in Pokot South Sub County, the elders have enforced a prohibition on bars and sale of local brews in the area for four decades.

This ban was implemented in 1976 under the leadership of former Paramount Chief John Muok, after the elders in Lelan voted in favour of prohibiting the brewing and consumption of alcohol by locals.

The reason behind this ban was the observation that the residents had become dependent on the illicit brews, causing them to neglect their duties and consequently slowing the economic progress of the region.

Courtesy; KNA

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