The government has declared a nationwide crackdown on counterfeit alcoholic drinks and drugs ahead of the festive season.
The exercise which is being coordinated by the Ministry of Interior and National Government will involve the National Police Service, the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), the Ministry of Health, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Authority and County Governments.
Speaking at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development during a consultative meeting ahead of the exercise that begins immediately, Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Raymond Omollo said the crackdown was timely as the country traditionally experiences a spike in the consumption of illicit alcohol and drugs during the festive season.
“This crackdown is therefore timely as it mitigates the potential harm wrought on our people by illicit brews and counterfeit alcohol that is mostly traded in non-compliant premises. Through this exercise, we can protect our youth from the devastating effects of alcohol and drug abuse,” he said.
Omollo however emphasized that the crackdown will only target illicit alcohol and drugs while protecting licensed and legitimate businesses trading in alcoholic beverages.
“Government is not against legitimate alcohol business. Licensed trade in legit alcohol is an important economic activity that will be accorded the necessary support and security,” he added.
Previously, the government has mounted similar crackdowns under Rapid Result Initiatives (RRI) program coordinated by NACADA.
Among the concerns arising out of the exercises include the proliferation of substandard and counterfeit alcohol and the sale of brands with fake standardization stamps and outlets with deplorable health standards.
Omollo called on country governments to effectively play their Constitutionally-assigned role in liquor licensing and drug control.
“Whilst we have seen commitment in several Counties, lax administration of these responsibilities undermines the fight against drugs and illicit alcohol. We will sustain engagements with relevant counties to redress this concern.”
The Inspector General of the National Police Service, Japhet Koome, who was also in attendance warned that his officers will adopt a zero-tolerance on drink-driving.
“Those drug barons out there, let them get the message clearly. There will be no negotiations. We are already in the festive mode. The festive mode comes with excitement. Drivers tend to drink and drive. We are not going to allow it. For speeding, we will not tolerate it.”
The meeting which was also attended by all the Regional Commissioners follows a recent directive by President William Ruto to enhance the fight against the production, consumption and sale of illicit alcohol and drugs.