Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua has disclosed that there are Kenyans in the Middle East who are have started their own changaa dens and are selling the illicit brew to other Africans in a region where alcohol is not tolerated.
Speaking on Citizen TV’s JK Live Show on Wednesday, Dr. Mutua said that a good number of Kenyans who are languishing in jails in the gulf are those who commit such illegal acts like brewing changaa. The government has been under fire of late for not doing enough to protect the rights of Kenyan workers in the Middle East.
“We are taking care of all Kenyans in Qatar and we are the government speaking the truth …Kenyans are business people, and in some of these countries in the Middle East, alcohol is illegal…” CS Mutua said.
“Do you know there are Kenyans brewing chang’aa in some of these countries? It breaks my heart that we are here debating about getting Kenyans there while there are Kenyans there with chang’aa dens, selling chang’aa to other Africans, an illegality of illegality in a Muslim country.”
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The CS lamented that such criminal activities were weakening the Kenyan passport and crippling the government’s efforts in dealing with issues of welfare for its citizens abroad.
“It is creative but we can be creative in other sectors. Some of them are losing their sight due to chang’aa. The things they are doing here they are doing there. That weakens our passport and bargaining points,” he stated.
The sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in most of the countries in the Middle East. For example in Qartar, drinking in a public place could result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine up to QAR3,000. Alcohol is available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system.