KAYOLE TOP PRODUCER

Soweto source of illicit liquor in Nairobi

Hired youths attack police when they try to raid distilleries

In Summary

•  “Anyone who tries to stick his neck outside the ‘untouchable’ persons’ businesses is met with intimidation and threats,” Moronge said.

• Ten people have been arrested in the latest crackdown.

Provincial administrators pouring out ingredients for illicit liquor in Nairobi.
Provincial administrators pouring out ingredients for illicit liquor in Nairobi.
Image: COURTESY:

Soweto is the source of the illicit liquor trade in Nairobi where brew barons make fortunes and corrupt law enforcement.

Embakasi Central deputy county commissioner Kenneth Moronge told the Star that the Kayole slum leads in distilling, selling and distributing alcohol in both the subcounty and the entire city-county.

He said liquor kingpins have for years used their wealth from the business to evade the law.

Meantime, those who consume their products lie in the gutters.

“We have had very powerful illicit brew dealers operating in the area for ages. They have made fortunes out of the trade which they use to corrupt the system,” Moronge said.

He spoke to the Star in his office on Monday.

“Anyone who tries to stick his neck outside the ‘untouchable’ persons’ businesses is met with intimidation and threats,” Moronge said.

The official added, “I am also targeted with the threats and intimidation because I destroyed their headquarters and left that place bare.”

Moronge said he partly incapacitated the notorious illicit brew dealer known as Daudi by destroying all distilling equipment.

This man has youths on his payroll. He uses them to intimidate and harass people. They are paid, intoxicated and incited youths. They attacked our officers on their raids.
Kenneth Moronge, Embakasi Central deputy county commissioner

The man has three other dens in the same area, he said.

“We received reports on Sunday that the dealer’s customers had shifted to other dens in the Tula Kubwa area. We didn't want this trade to continue,” Moronge said.

He sent two officers to raid a den on Sunday but they were attacked by hired thugs.

“This man has a group of youths on his payroll. He uses them to intimidate and harass people. These are intoxicated, paid and incited youths. They attacked our officers in the course of their work,” Moronge said.

He said the thugs had been launching attacks anytime that police officers, chiefs and their assistants tried to crack down on illicit brew in the subcounty.

"Officers are attacked and pelted with stones. There is a strong, well-oiled cartel that thinks it's above the law," the official said.

And they'll do anything to protect their interests.

Moronge said law enforcement would not relent in the fight against illicit liquor and drugs throughout Embakasi Central subcounty.

“We will sustain the fight and no amount of intimidation will deter us,” Moronge said.

He said security officers had combed the area and arrested five people, including the wife of the notorious distiller Daudi.

Police seized 3,000 litres of busaa, 30 litres of chang’aa, 40 litres of mti ni dawa; 2,300 litres of busaa were poured out. 

Five more people were arrested, raising the total number of arrests to 10 from the same den within the Savanna area in Umoja division. Nineteen gambling machines were impounded.

(Edited by V. Graham)