I rarely watch news. I don’t watch news because it is the biggest cause of little world wars in my house. I lost the war over the remote control long ago and lately I play the role of the eminent person in mediating between two warring factions: the fan of the cartoon channels and the fan of the TLC, Oprah and similar channels.
These two factions sit in the TV security council and wield the veto power over the remote control in my household.
Last night, for a reason I am yet to understand, there was was general consensus between the veto powers to watch the news. There were so many items of course but the one that endures in my memory is the one on the alcohol menace in Central Kenya.
Concerned political representatives had paid a visit to the Commander in Chief to seek a lasting solution to the problem of alcohol. Previously, I heard that the brand new MP for Kiambu Constituency had led a gang of goons to destroy stocks of illicit brew in pubs in Kikuyu town.
I was hoping that he would be arraigned in court to take plea on all manner of charges including malicious destruction to property, assault, robbery with violence and the like. I must admit that I am no specialist in criminal matters but I was expecting at least some criminal charges against the brand new MP.
To my surprise, no word came out from the Director of Public Prosecutions office. No word came from the courts either. Anyway, donâ€™t we all know about big people and immunity, sorry, impunity!
Instead, I heard that there were murmurs from Central that the president was paying too much attention to people who did not deserve it at the expense of those who deserved his attention more. Attention in this context must be understood to mean largesse or generosity.
So I was pleasantly surprised when the agenda on the house of the hill was not about the president’s flirtations with people who don’t deserve his attention but to discuss an alcohol menace.
My happiness was short lived when in a move that seemed to endorse the Kiambu MP’s lawlessness, the president gave the initiative of solving the alcohol problem to the MPs, GSU and County Commissioners.
I don’t have any problem with the County Commissioners. They are in charge of what was formerly the provincial administration and have always handled chang’aa related problems in the villages.
However I doubt the legislators are equipped with the necessary tools and capacity to deal with the problem. They can preach about it and complement the pastors and preachers for sure, but to take the initiative? How will they tell authentic alcohol from second generation alcohol for example? I must confess that I heard the phrase ‘second generation alcohol’ for the first time in my life and still don’t know what it means even as I type away. Do they have the means to tell authentic alcohol from counterfeits? I imagine some of them could be teetotalers!
It is a dangerous thing to give folks without the necessary knowledge, tools or wherewithal to do a job. We should therefore expect more of what transpired in Kikuyu town, Embakasi style. I have always thought that the surest way to destroy any cause in this country is to politicise it. Involving MPs in this problem is a sure way to politicise it. They are going to destroy pubs and bars belonging to their competitors and critics. And the problem will metamorphose from run away alcoholism to blood shed and chaos. Of course alcoholism will not go away. probably, it will become worse.
Then there is the GSU. Traditionally, they have been used to quell crowd trouble. Now they are being deployed to control alcoholism. Have they been trained to handle this?
Ironically, as the declarations were being made, a declaration, not by the roadside , but roadside like in every other aspect, to disband the board of Nacada.
I am no expert on controlling alcohol. I know the president has this difficult task of handling the humanly impossible expectation that he should provide or be able to provide a solution to just about every problem under the sun. He is however in a privileged position where he has all, if not most of the resources at his disposal to find solutions to problems.
In this instance, he could have called on expert advice and I doubt there was any among the MPs. He could have told the MPs at the end of the meeting that he would consider their petition, seek advice and generate a policy solution to the problems.
Instead, he took Hon. Waititus advice and for the next four days, I am going to plead with the folks in my household who wield the veto power over the remote control to allow me some 10 minutes of the 9.00PM news bulletin, to watch the Embakasi solution to the alcohol menace unfold in Central Kenya.
[This article has been ‘pulled’ from Facebook. The author is advocate Dennis Onyango of the High Court of Kenya]