I have closely been following the current initiative by the President to scrap off all illicit brew dens and I would be very unappreciative not to acknowledge the efforts by the President and the County government in saving the alcoholics (particularly those of the poorly prepared and unhygienic liquor). My village back in Nyeri County is not an exception in the effects of liquor (the veterans call themselves ‘wamuthota’ meaning ‘the thirsty ones’), and this is not the first time such a war on illicit brews is being launched. Only that this time around I hope the chiefs and county commissioners would be steadfast in the fight and not give in to bribes.

The illicit brew producers haven’t given up in innovating new ways of carrying on with their business. As Kenyans reacted online I caught a humorous comment that the small-scale coffee vendors now have liquor in the flasks. Besides that, drunkenness will continue to be a menace in our society given that it’s only a war against the illicit brews, and not on all alcohol. So in a sense, the broken families out of alcoholism will continue to be, the accidents on the road caused by alcoholism will continue to be, etc.

I just came across a quote from a book I am reading that seemed to communicate what has been in my mind for the last two weeks. A theologian Richard Baxter wrote ‘A thief doth not become a true man when the prison or stocks do hinder him from stealing, but when a changed heart doth hinder him’. And replacing the ’thief’ on the quote to ‘alcoholic’, and ‘prison or stock’ to ‘government’ explains my very thought on what is going on.

There is a deeper problem in man other than drunkenness, prostitution, homosexuality among others. If by the way of blocking satisfaction of a worldly passion like drunkenness we are able to forcefully reduce availability of the illicit brew, it will be near good, but that doesn’t affirm the success of preventing indulgence into other ungodly addictions. Our rejoicing in the war against illicit brews may just be a temporary measure to cure a stomach ache, while there lays a deeper ailment of gastric cancer. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….’ Rom 3:23 is a diagnosis of the problem lying right at human’s heart. The ‘gastric cancer’ is SIN. The good news however is ‘and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood….’ Rom 3:24-25a.

And so as Christians join in in rejoicing at the ongoing illicit beer war, let us not forget the opportunity we have of reaching out to the circumstantially alcohol-deprived men and women with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who not only desires men not to be given to drunkenness but is calling out to their hearts that He may heal and accord them grace for this momentary life.

I can’t help but think through these words from a hymn;

Amazing grace how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me,

I was once lost but now I am found,

Was blind but now I see.

Grace be with you,

Njeri Maina.


  1. I appreciate your post about alcoholism, Njeri. Very balanced — we are glad for the government’s efforts and the progress being made, but it might just be an ‘elastoplast’ on a very huge and festering wound! God’s transforming power IS THE answer!


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