Beer bellies are the least of our problems when it comes to booze

Beer bellies are the least of our problems when it comes to booze

The average, well meaning, Kenyan would probably drink every night of the week if they could. A survey by the World Health Organisation on the country’s drinking habits stated that 1.2 per cent of the country’s drinking population binges, and is probably fuelling an alcohol addiction. Out of 44 million 528,000 people does not seem like it is necessarily a great amount and compared to developed countries our drinking habits are downright demure. A country like the USA has a binge drinking population percentage of 18.3, that’s almost 55 million people.

Kenyans drink on December 7, 2010 at the Tropez club in Nairobi. Kenya’s recently passed alcoholic drinks control act is too restrictive and will harm the country’s crucial tourism sector, hotel and bar owners complained on December 7. The law, which came into force late last month prohibits alcohol from being sold before 2:00 pm on weekends and 5:00 pm on weekdays and bans licensing for an establishment located within 300 meters of a school. The new law, which also clamps down on the deadly illicit brew known as Changa’a and attempts to curb underage drinking, was welcomed by anti-drug abuse campaigners. But many restaurant, hotel and bar owners were left reeling by the new law and mulling their strategy to have some restrictions eased during the nine-month grace period granted to the main affected parties by the new act. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

But Kenyans love their beer the way they love their nyama choma, which is a lot. We drink, and drunk at every and any opportunity we get. Many streets in the CBD are a mess by Friday afternoon with loud music and loud voices sounding out of the cramped and congested clubs that pepper the streets. But somehow that still pales in comparison to club-central, Westlands.

READ ALSO: Film board links student unrest in schools to use of alcohol

The video of the ‘heckler’ interrupting Othuol Othuol’s stand up set at the Churchill Show is funny but incredibly out of place. The woman, making an important point that we need to do better by our Kenyan artistes, seemed to have forgotten that Othuol Othuol is not the authority in remunerating musicians in the country. After he mentioned that Chris Brown was in the country for a show and walked away with Sh.90 million ($ 870,000) she stands up and makes an impassioned interjection, “Excuse me, you pay billions for this Chris Brown!” later adding, “I am a Kenyan and we pay our taxes and I support our Kenyan musicians!”

Even when Othuol Othuol agreed with her it seemed to go right over her head. It was obvious that something intoxicating had been consumed and her outburst made news. This wasn’t somebody passed out in a muddy field after a concert but this was worse because everybody saw it. Ironically enough there have been pictures of Othuol Othuol drunk and misbehaving circulating in the web, and they are relatively easy to find.

Members of the public is most probably introduced to alcohol when they are in their early teens and just like that it sticks. 56 per cent of people who consume alcohol favour beer and with the number of drinkers going up every year since 2003 it appears that Tusker and not old age will be the death of us.

READ ALSO: Alcohol marketing blamed for underage drinking

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