Pubdate: Tue, 15 Apr 2003
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2003 Nation Newspapers
Contact: (254-2)213946
Author: A. Jahmambo


There is a tiny village in Rachuonyo District on the shores of Lake 
Victoria known as Maguti. It has approximately 48 homesteads, out of which 
16 deal in chang'aa, eight in busaa and three in bhang.

The rate at which chang'aa [illicit liquor] is brewed and consumed is 
alarming. The fact that the village's economic mainstay is largely fishing, 
alcohol and drug abuse have invaded it. Since fishing is supposed to be 
such hard work, it cannot be done on "an empty head".

Matatu touts and handcart pushers from the nearby Kendu town add to the 
ready clientele that make the deadly merchandise flourish.

The heavy police presence has a negative effect on the war against the 
illicit brews. There is an administration police post at Kendu old town. 
There is also police station not far away. And then there is another AP 
station at the nearby divisional headquarters.

Officers from these posts and the station patrol this tiny village round 
the clock, not to apprehend the dealers and revellers, but to collect bribes.

But the buck must land at the feet of the area's assistant chief. The 
police are reluctant to accompany him to the "raids" and, whenever they 
have to do so, they first alert the dealers and their "customers".

The poor assistant chief is left with little option but to use his "youths" 
- - who are known to be people of questionable character - to help him.

Since most of these youths are unemployed, they are always happy to work if 
they are allowed to extort money from the dealers and help themselves to 
free booze and confiscated bhang. Talk of sending a thief to catch a thief!

If the war on illicit brews and drugs is to be won in this village, in 
particular, and throughout the country, let a special anti-chang'aa unit of 
morally upright officers be set up. Alternatively, raise the salaries of 
APs to make them less prone to bribery.


Kendu Bay.
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MAP posted-by: Alex