Kenya can’t be a drinking nation! Ruto talks Tough on alcohol

President William Ruto has issued a stark warning regarding the pervasive issue of alcoholism among the youth population in our nation.

In a statement made on Tuesday, the President emphasized that a nation cannot progress if it continues to embrace a culture of excessive drinking.

He advocated for a shift in focus, urging young people to direct their energy towards productive endeavors rather than succumbing to the allure of alcohol.

“We are resolute in our efforts to combat those who seek to ensnare our youth with narcotics and harmful brews. We are taking a firm stance that normalizing excessive drinking is unacceptable. Our goal is not to foster a culture of intoxication, but rather to cultivate a culture of productivity,” he asserted.

President Ruto reiterated that there is no middle ground in this matter; Kenyans must make the conscious choice to prioritize the path of responsible living over indulgence.

“To those who protest the closure of their drinking establishments and express discontent, we must recognize the immense toll that drug abuse has taken on our society,” he added.

These sentiments from President Ruto come in the wake of recent government initiatives aimed at combating the proliferation of illicit alcohol.

On March 6, 2024, the government officially declared the fight against illicit alcohol, drugs, and substance abuse as a top national security concern.

This declaration was followed by the implementation of 25 comprehensive directives designed to initiate crackdowns, regulatory measures, and enforcement actions throughout the entire supply chain.

One of the key directives included a 21-day suspension of all 52 licenses and permits issued by both the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“In alignment with the government’s commitment to safeguarding the health and welfare of all Kenyans, the Cabinet has been briefed on the progress made in the nationwide enforcement efforts aimed at addressing the accessibility and consumption of harmful brews, narcotics, and psychoactive substances,” read an official statement.

These enforcement measures also encompassed a review of the legal framework governing the sector, as well as the imposition of penalties on public or private officials found complicit in the sale of dangerous substances resulting in death or injury.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced these measures following a tragic incident in Kirinyaga County where over 20 individuals lost their lives due to the consumption of illicit alcohol.

Kindiki underscored the severity of the situation, highlighting how the widespread use of illicit brews and substance abuse, particularly among teenagers and young adults, poses not only a significant social concern but also a threat to the nation’s long-term sustainability.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua echoed the government’s unwavering commitment to combating illicit liquor manufacturers on a nationwide scale.

He urged the multi-agency security team to intensify efforts in the fight against drugs and substance abuse.

“The government will continue to implement the stringent measures outlined by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to eradicate illicit brews from the market,” stated the Deputy President during a fundraising event in Meru County.

He emphasized that legitimate liquor sellers would not be affected by these measures, reiterating that the primary focus is on eradicating the sale of harmful alcohol.

“President Ruto, CS Kindiki, and I are united in our determination to protect the youth from the scourge of illicit brews. We have implemented rigorous measures to safeguard future generations. Legitimate alcohol vendors need not worry, as they will not be targeted,” assured Gachagua.