Alcoholism and Government

Socialism and capitalism: An alcoholic haven?

Today I interacted with an administrative at Eldama Ravine who got me thinking about the role of government in mitigating against social problems such as alcoholism that usually result to, according to NCADA and WHO, increase in poverty level, incidences HIV/AIDS, Gender-Based Violence and even mental illness.

Chief Torrey informed me that in the late 1970s the late President Moi banned the sale of alcohol in open areas such as clubs. After a little research, I have found that indeed the late President Moi in 1978 banned the production and sale of traditional brews, stating that they retarded development. In fact according to the chief after the ban, there was an increase in the number of children accessing school and completing their education as there was money in the house.Pesa ya kusomesha watoto ilikua kwa nyumba

However, after President Mwai Kibaki’s government took over in 2003, Hon. Amos Kimunya, the then Finance Minister, made history by introducing the Licensing Laws (Repeals and Amendments) Act (2006), which repealed the Traditional Liquor Act of 1971. Hon. Kimunya came up with one law, the Liquor Licensing Act, which broadened the licensing of traditional brews and enabled the mass production, bottling, and sale of these “traditional” products countrywide. The effect of which made alcohol accessible due to the rapid commercialisation process and improved accessibility.

This led me to the NACADA website. Here there are several resources that heavy of public awareness especially for school children and youth. You will also find alcoholism and drug abuse statistics which are grim and desperate.

Back to Chief Torerey, he noted that he has dealt with the rise GBV cases and child abandonment as a result of alcoholism in his area of jurisdiction during the COVID period. So here I remembered how young and vibrant Kenyans would wait with baited breathe for the Presidential address on COVID with mostly the sole purpose to hear whether the ‘local hang’ will open. Granted, there are thousands of employment avenues in this industry and of course the coveted government taxation. However, social structuring and limitations brought about by government bans on movement had reduction on alcohol access, therefore, more income for women to use at home or at least less violence instigated by substance abuse.

The opening up of this industry was capitalistic and the socialist aspects of ensuring there are complimentary social welfare infrastructures such as rehabilitation centers, psychosocial centers, safe houses, public awareness, follow up, and retooling mechanisms. It is exhausting to see the desperation that is at the grassroots . Kwa ground watu wanaumia!

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