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Laws, Judicial Impediments Encouraging Impunity In Fight Against Drug, Substance Abuse.

Kiambu County Director of Alcoholic Drinks Control Mr. Michael Kang’ethe Gachanja.
Kiambu County Director of Alcoholic Drinks Control Mr. Michael Kang’ethe Gachanja has faulted the current laws and the judiciary over what he termed as frustrations in war against drug and substance abuse among the citizenry.

Speaking at Dillons Highway Motel in Ngoliba Ward, Thika East Sub-County during a youth convention on drug abuse prevention, the director blamed the current laws and the judiciary for not supporting in the fight.

“We are having a very big challenge in enforcing the law especially when we nab unscrupulous wines and spirits traders selling the liquor illegally due to the deficiency in the current laws and the lack of support from the judiciary. The culprits are charged and freed on very low fines and light punishments an act that demoralises those entrusted with enforcement of the law,” said Kang’ethe.

He said that as a county, they had discontinued the retailing of wines and spirits but admitted reports of some traders abusing their licences to sell to consumers in small units.

“We passed a law in Kiambu County disallowing the retailing of wines and spirits. This week alone we have withdrawn licences from two traders found flouting this law. We thank the members of public for their continued support in this fight and appeal to them to continue exposing all those still selling these products secretly so that action can be taken against them,” he said.

Kang’ethe reckoned that they were currently working with NACADA to come up with permanent solutions to this challenge especially in the amendments of the existing laws to enhance enforcements. Among the suggested amendments included giving mwanachi powers to authorise the bodies mandated to fight illegal sale of liquor the authority to close down all those premises the public deemed not appropriately conducting business.

In the same perspective, Kang’ethe advocated for the inclusion of the judiciary in this whole process to ensure that all arms of government participated in the implementation of these laws in one accord.  
The director noted that alcohol and substance abuse among the youth posed a very serious challenge and there was need for swift action by all stakeholders to see to it that the scourge was contained.

“We need increased community education on the adverse effects of alcohol at the individual, household and community level. We too need to enhance enforcement of the alcohol laws especially in prosecution of perpetrators, distribution and sale of alcohol,” he said.

He pointed out the treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse was expensive which called for authorities to come up with a comprehensive strategic plan to contain its causes before the youth plunged themselves into the scourge. He appealed to the government to roll out pro-poor rehabilitation programmes targeted at the youth who are suffering from alcoholism.

He challenged parents to assume responsibilities of guiding their kids in the fight against substance abuse as the family remained the biggest source of this problem.

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