NATION/Lillian Onyango - The National Assembly should consider disbanding the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) and merge its functions with other product inspection agencies, a consumer rights body said Monday.
Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) Secretary General Stephen Mutoro said Nacada’s roles should go to Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeits Agency and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
The Cofek boss said this is one of the ways the government will deal with the illicit brews menace.
Mr Mutoro said the Jubilee Government is yet to ensure consumer protection and the unfortunate deaths from illicit brew were as a result of poverty levels and poor enforcement.
“Firing Nacada CEO Dr William Okedi and his Anti-Counterfeit Agency counterpart was quite unnecessary and illegal, to say the least.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Mr Joseph Ole Lenku flouted provisions of Article 236 with impunity,” he said in a statement posted on Cofek website.
He added that all the sacked officers need to be unconditionally recalled, otherwise Cofek will seek to be enjoined in the legal suit by the Kenya Union of Civil Servants.
In its recommendations, the group asked the National Assembly to review budgetary allocation for consumer information, education, communication and overall protection.
“Cofek believes so strongly that no one, unless they wish to commit suicide, would knowingly take alcohol laced with poison, however poor they can be.
Indeed informed consumers will equally cut on the Government curative health budget and assist in sharing crucial information in enforcing alcohol control,” the statement read.
Further, it wants the government to employ at least cross-sector 200 inspectors for each County who will be expected to engage the consumers directly.
He said Parliament will need to explore new ways of lowering taxation on the cost of alcohol for the poor and especially targeting removal of VAT from key raw materials and that it should be reflected in the 2014/15 Finance Bill to be brought to Parliament next month.
“The National Assembly will need to radically amend the Consumer Protection Act, 2012 to give it powers of the High Court in proactively summoning food, beverage and fuel adulterators, among other consumer violators in other sectors of the economy,” Mr Mutoro said.
After the weekend massacre from poisonous liquor, we must acknowledge that the so-called Mututho Laws have failed.
What I can’t understand is why it is the chief executive of Nacada who was sent home, instead of the chairman John Mutotho, who long ago usurped executive functions.
But then the latter is a favoured political appointee who got the job despite the fact that the law disqualifies him from public office while facing criminal prosecution.