In 2006, residents of an area covering about 15 kilometer square in Mid-Western part of Kenya decided to be proactive to get rid of an harmful alcohol that had caused havoc and made their young men to be mere junks of emaciated beings that knew nothing other than quenching their addiction. The men were no longer contributing to the well-being of their families, and there was belief that the alcohol was making them sterile and mere zombies. Like drug barons, the suppliers were daring - ready to fight or to buy their way out. The administrative arm of the government including the local chiefs, the DO and the law enforcement officers had closed their ears to the cries of the local community. It had become evident that the relevant arms of the government were getting their share of revenue from the suppliers and the sellers.
When members of community policing that that was created through a recent government policy tried to get rid of the alcohol, they realized that they were not getting support from the DO, the Chief, and the administration policemen. When the went around searching for alcohol and the sellers in order to force them to leave selling the harmful drinks or to arrest them, the DO and administration policemen who benefited from the alcohol cartel and its network, moved swiftly to arrest the community policy members, citing breach of peace and targeting of members of other ethnic communities living in their midst. This incident led to a political outcry that exposed the local administration racket and let to summoning of the area DO by the DC.
The community could not look back. Members of the community continued with alcohol policing, and the climax was a big meeting convened in their town to resolve the alcohol problem – supposedly for good. And the method was a ritual involving oath taking and cursing. Known sellers were to take an oath swearing that they were not going to sell alcohol again after a curse pronounced by a famous old man that whoever break the oath would die.
In just about two weeks after the curse, a middle aged woman known for selling the harmful brew alighted from a vehicle near some highway bumps, a few meters to her destination. She tried to cross and dash to her place where she would sell illegal alcohol. She did not turn to look left and right. The crossing never materialized. She was knocked down by a car, and the content in her basket was spilled all over the road. Liquid contents in several top tied polythene bags that burst spilled out wetting the tarmac road. I t was obvious by the smell that the liquid was alcohol. The curse had started to bite. All alcohol sellers who were still selling the harmful illicit home-made alcohol were in a state of shock and fear. They avoid selling the harmful home made alcohol. But like the local community’s saying “he did not die, but he was eaten by a buffalo”, a more dangerous and cheap, formerly illegal, but now legalized cheap alcohol produced by some industries was bought and sold in the town bars by the local entrepreneurs.
Young people attracted by cheap alcohol come to the town very early in the morning and by mid-morning they will have passed out, and on gaining some consciousness and scanty strength would stumble home to sleep. They would be sick and suffering from headache the following morning. If they will regain strength by mid morning, they would tenaciously and with much urgency look for manual jobs to earn money and by mid day, they would be arriving at the joints. This time, the alcohol would start taking toll on them in the evening, and as they try to go home, they would fall by the way side. And if they will be remaining with some scanty strength, they would wake up towards mid night and stumbled home. Some have been heard shouting at a bush, saying “you woman, open the door. You mean you are not opening? I will come in with the door. ”
The curse, though dramatic and managed to get the town rid of illegal home brew transported into the town from a neighbouring ethnic community, the curse only managed to change the brand to be sold, an equally dangerous brand that has been made legal and sold through conventional supply and sale channels. Would the curse be applicable this time? It seems evil will always find a way back!