Landmark ruling: High court rules that Muratina is not an illicit brew.

A Kiambu high court has issued a landmark ruling holding that local Agikuyu drink Muratina is not an illicit brew as has been held by state and allowed it to be brewed and taken as part of culture and tradition.

Justice A. Mshila has allowed the Agikuyu community to prepare and drink the brew at their traditional functions.

“A declaration be and is hereby made that muratina is not an illicit brew and the agikuyu people are at liberty to prepare and consume it as part of their culture and tradition,” the court ruled.

However, Judge Mshila directed the Kiama Kia Ma with the local chiefs to regulate the preparations and consumption of muratina without prejudice to existing laws.

According the judgement, the use of Muratina as part of the agikuyu culture has not been prohibited by any law.

The judge said The Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, 2010, merely regulates alcoholic drinks including traditional alcoholic drink but does not prohibit traditional drinks, and particularly it does not identify muratina as illicit brew.

“ The Respondents were wrong in treating muratina as illicit brew. Actions taken by the Respondents against the trafitional brewers for the sole reason that the they are brewing muratina lack legal basis and hence unconstitutional,” the judge ruled.

Judge Mshila further ruled that unless the state enforce specific provisions of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act or any other law, they cannot raid homes, confiscate property and prefer unfounded charges against authorized muratina brewers.

“Those actions violate the cultural rights of the agikuyu people,” the court ruled.

In the case, Ndeiya Traditional Brewers moved to court for redress on account of the violation of their constitutional rights against the police who were arresting them for brewing Muratina.

They challenged the police decision to harass and arraign the Kikuyu Council of elders for preparing traditional brew.

The brewers argued that they are duly authorized by the Kikuyu Cultural Elders (Kiama Kia Ma) to prepare Muratina for traditional ceremonies and not for commercial purposes.

The police and local chiefs were restraining them from preparing the brew on the grounds that it is illicit and thus does not conform to the Alcoholic Drink Control Act No. 4 of 2010.

it classifies Muratina as illicit, it suppresses the traditional celebrations under the Kikuyu Culture as well as discriminating the Kikuyu Culture
and also for the unlawful prosecution.

CH Reporter

CH Reporter

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