Africa’s Drinking Problem: Alcoholism on the Rise as Beverage Multinationals Circle


In Kenya, depending on whom you ask, John Mututho is either a hero or a villain, but in a country consuming ever more alcohol, he is certainly a household name. In 2010, Mututho won a battle with the beverage industry to implement Kenya’s first alcohol-control act. It is known as the Mututho law and honors his brother, who died as a result of alcoholism. After his brother’s death in 2007, Mututho dedicated himself to the issue with a focus and vigor rare in Kenyan politicians pursuing social goals. But instead of being celebrated, Mututho was punished. In the following elections this year, he didn’t even win his party ticket. A Nairobi social worker who is forever mopping up the damage of alcoholism chuckles fondly as he tells me this story, as if it encapsulates his country today. “Do we drink because we’re Kenyan or are we Kenyan because we drink?”…

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