A police station in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, is on the spot after reports revealed that the illicit brew that left 23 people dead was police exhibit.
According to local reports, rogue officers from the Kiamaciri Police Station took the alcohol from the station storage and sold it to the bar owner at Ksh20,000.
The owner of the California Bar in Kangai Village in Mwea, then sold the brew to unsuspicious locals at a cheap price, who indulged in the drink unaware of the effects that would follow.
The killer brew was reportedly a court exhibit that had been in the station for months and was most likely expired and poisonous.
Regional administrators destroy illicit brew in Nyamira South in July 2020.
Photo Alvin Ratemo
Residents in the area have been complaining about rogue police officers involved with illegal traders, claiming that bribery is a normal thing among the law enforcers in Mwea.
The affected people have also demanded that an investigation into the claims be launched, calling for a deep review of the conduct of officers from the Kiamaciri police station.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Friday directed the deployment of new police officers to Kirinyaga county to enhance the crackdown on the sale and consumption of illicit brew, warning rogue officers of sacking if caught aiding the businesses.
“Illicit brews are thriving because the officers are busy taking bribes. Had President William Ruto and I not intervened, the entire generation in this region would have been wiped out by poisonous alcohol in ten years,” he stated.
Gachagua further directed that the Kirinyaga County Commissioner, County Police Commander, County Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the County Administration Police Commander be recalled to Nairobi, as investigations into the Kangai incident continued.
On February 6, six people succumbed while five others were left blind after allegedly consuming expired alcohol with a high concentration of suspected ethanol in Kangai Village in Kirinyaga County.
The death toll, which has increased over the past few days now stands at 23, as families express their worry over the deteriorating condition of those receiving treatment in the hospitals.
Angry residents had later in the day, taken matters into their own hands and set the California bar ablaze, demonstrating for the transfer of the area chief and sub-chief.
A parade of village elders (left) and Interior CS Kithure Kindiki with members of the National Police Service.