Illicit brews and bhang ruin lives in Makueni villages - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 5 October 2020

Illicit brews and bhang ruin lives in Makueni villages


Consolata Achieng had gone to seek medical services at Makueni Level 4 Hospital in Wote town when her phone rang around midnight a week ago.

It was the phone number of her son Luciano Musa.

But the caller was not Musa but a strange man who threatened to kill and burn her son’s body.

“Are you the mother to Luciano? I am going to beat him up, kill him and burn his body," the man said.

"He kept calling and repeating the same message until my phone went off,” Achieng told the Star during the burial of her son on Saturday at her home in Kyamuata village in Mbooni subcounty.

When she got home the following day, she found that her son, aged 28, had been killed at an illicit brews den in the home of a person she knows well in Mutula, a neighbouring village within Kaiti subcounty.

The private parts of the father of three had been chopped off and a shallow grave dug within the compound where the killers intended to bury her son secretly.

Two other sons escaped the attack but one suffered injuries on his head during the attack.

One suspect, Dominic Mutinda, and a brewer were arrested and charged but police officers requested for 14 days to probe the incident.

Achieng attributed the incident to unchecked illicit brews and bhang trade in the area at the border of the two subcounties in Makueni.

Members of the community said some of the illegal brew dens are operated within homesteads and others near river Isuuni that separates Mbooni and Kaiti.

The community said the authorities had failed to act and help end the business that has led to insecurity in the area.

Patrick Kala, a teacher, said they had reported the matter to Mbooni subcounty headquarters many times but no action has been taken.

He said operators of the illegal business even sell the illicit brews to school children.

“The illegal trade is also carried out in kiosks where operators sell the brews in flasks. A visitor will be served tea while a resident will be served the brew secretly,” Kala said.

Early this year, some pupils of Ithiithini Primary School in Iuani sublocation shocked their teachers when they arrived at school drunk.

According to Kala, involvement of children in preparation and consumption of the illicit brews has affected the area's educational performance.

“When we report, police come here and arrest one or two brewers but they release them without preferring charges against them in court. The brewers come back home boasting of having secured their freedom,” he said.

Ukia assistant county commissioner Jane Thiga said police officers face challenges of accessing the area due to bad terrain.

“The villages are in a hilly area where targets are able to see a police vehicle approaching and so they take the advantage to escape,” she said.

Thiga said a police post set up in the area is ready and police officers will be posted once the cell is complete.

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