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DP Gachagua gives Mombasa leaders wake-up call on drug and alcohol abuse

Gachagua didn't mince words as he expressed his disappointment with the absence of some Coast leaders

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and CS Kithure Kindiki at the Coast Region Conference on Illicit Alcohol and Narcotic Drugs Abuse held on February 26, 2024

In a bold move to confront the growing crisis of drug and alcohol abuse in Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has thrown the spotlight on the issue, particularly in the Mt Kenya and Coast regions.

During a crucial event in Mombasa, the Coast Region Conference on Illicit Alcohol and Narcotic Drugs Abuse held on February 26, Gachagua didn't mince words as he expressed his disappointment with the absence of some Coast leaders.

"Why are leaders in the Coast quiet as our young people suffer from the clutches of drugs?" he questioned, emphasizing the critical need for every elected leader to join the conversation on this dire issue.

The Deputy President criticised the missing leaders for their silence and inaction, accusing them of neglecting their duty to combat the substance abuse menace that is wreaking havoc on the youth.

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By skipping such vital discussions, these leaders are, according to Gachagua, failing to uphold their responsibility to protect and improve the lives of their constituents, especially the young people who are most vulnerable to the lure of drugs and alcohol.

Highlighting the significance of leadership in the battle against this crisis, Gachagua urged for accountability and active participation from all elected officials.

He argued that their absence not only demonstrates a lack of concern for the well-being of Kenyans but also contributes to the ongoing struggle with addiction that plagues many communities.

In a related development, Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome proposed a legislative change during the conference, suggesting that the National Police Service (NPS) be granted the authority to issue liquor licenses.

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This suggestion comes as a response to the challenges posed by the current system, which entrusts county governments with this responsibility.

Koome pointed out the shortcomings of the existing framework, noting that it opens up loopholes that exacerbate the alcohol abuse problem and the spread of illicit brews and unauthorised liquor outlets.

“Truth be told, governors should not be issuing the licenses because all they consider are votes and the revenues and forget about the security aspect,” he said.

Koome's critique of the current licensing process is sharp. He believes that allowing governors to issue liquor licenses has led to a focus on revenue and votes over public safety and health.

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By shifting this authority to the NPS, Koome argues, Kenya can address the security concerns related to alcohol abuse more effectively, closing gaps that have allowed the proliferation of harmful substances.

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