Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.

The government has ordered all bars in Kiambu county closed with immediate effect as part of the ongoing crackdown on illicit brews and drugs.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said bar owners should apply for licenses afresh and be vetted before being allowed back into the business.

The application will be in accordance with the Kiambu County Alcoholic Drinks Control Act.

The CS made the announcement on Wednesday when he launched the national crackdown on illicit liquor, second-generation brews, and narcotics in Makwa, Gatundu North.

Matiangi said Kiambu county has a damning history with the region’s high rates of alcohol consumption.

He said it is the only county in the entire country that has more licensed bars than both primary and secondary schools put together.

The county has 1,226 public primary and secondary schools while there are 3,062 liquor outlets across the region.

“We must sort this out once and for all. Illicit liquor has become the worst hiccup in the government’s Big Four agendas for the country,” the CS said.

He lamented that the outlawed brews that have crept back to the market after the 2015 crackdown have led to the loss of lives of many youths while rendering others unproductive.

“We are burying between 5 to 10 people every week because of illicit brews and drugs. This won’t happen again under our watch,” Matiang’i said.

The CS said there are other 17 counties that are under the watch of the national government on matters of drug abuse.

He said the government will support Governor Ferdinand Waititu’s efforts to eradicate the county of the outlawed substances.

The minister asked Waititu to work with the local administration as well as agencies such as Nacada, Kebs, Kenya anti-counterfeit Agency and KRA in the crackdown.

Waititu had told the county commissioner, his deputies, chiefs and their assistant chiefs and the police not to participate in the crackdown.

He accused them of corruption and colluding with brewers in the criminal activities.

Matiang’i also took issue with the courts for issuing injunctions which he said are eating into the gains made in the war against illicit brews.

He urged the judiciary to join Parliament and the Executive in the fight.

“We are being put off by court orders when fighting illegalities in the country. We will, however, respect them even when we feel they are wrong,” he said.

The CS further warned police officers, chiefs, and their assistants against abetting illicit liquor trade in the country by taking bribes.

“Those caught in the wrong will be sacked. We will part company with them if they dare take bribes,” he said.

The CS said the crackdown will be immediately rolled out in other counties urging other governors to follow in Waititu’s footsteps.

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“I also call upon Nacada to come up with a drunkenness index to tell the world which county is beaten in fighting the menace. Stop pushing and shoving.”

Gatundu North MP Wanjiku Kibe lamented that at least 7 people died in one month over alcohol-related problems.

The CS was accompanied by PS Interior Karanja Kibicho, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, Thika MP Patrick Wainaina, Kiambu MP Gathoni Wamuchomba, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria among others.

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