Kilifi Residents Resist Crackdown on ‘Mnazi’ Palm Wine

March 14, 2024

Residents of Kilifi County have voiced their opposition to the ongoing crackdown on palm wine brew, commonly known as mnazi, asserting that it is a natural beverage and not illicit alcohol.

The residents argue that the brew is naturally tapped from the coconut tree and contains no additives. They are urging the government to reclassify it and remove it from the category of illicit liquor.

Led by Kilifi Assembly Speaker Teddy Mwambire, the residents stated that the brew holds various cultural and social significance among the Mijikenda community, and they condemned its classification as illicit, deeming it an insult to the local community.

Mwambire said he would not tolerate law enforcement officers harassing Mnazi sellers and users. He urged the government to engage in a roundtable discussion with local leaders to educate them on the significance of the brew in Mijikenda culture.

“We have seen some people getting angry about the consumption of palm wine by our people in the Coast region but this is not an illegal brew but a cultural and social wine. I would like to caution the national government and especially Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to slow down and learn more about mnazi before including it among illicit brews,” he said.

According to the Kilifi Speaker, the government should recognize the coconut tree as a cash crop and provide support. He emphasized that Kilifi County has embraced the tree and all its products, including mnazi, as cash crops.

“I have never seen anyone complaining about the negative effects of mnazi but the government is ready to allow the sale of mogoka and miraa which have side effects on users and outlaw mnazi which is very natural and consumed directly from the coconut tree. We will push for legislation that will make the coconut tree a cash crop so that as a region and a country we can maximise its potential,” he said.

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