Man moves to court wanting Akamba traditional brews legalised


•‘Mawa’ is a millet beer, also known as Bantu beer which is an alcoholic beverage made from malted millet that is common throughout Africa. It is served in calabash gourds.

Kaluvu, the Akamba traditional brew made using water, honey and muatine.

A petitioner has moved to court seeking a declaration that the traditional Akamba brews popularly known as 'kaluvu' and 'mawa' are not illicit drinks.

Augustus Kyalo Muli who is the national patron of the Anzauni Ndene Clan of Kenya, wants his clans people to be at liberty to not only prepare but also consume the brews as part of their culture and tradition without interference from the state.

Through his lawyer Charles Mwalimu, he also sought directions to have the respondents in the suit being Interior CS Kithure Kindiki and Attorney General Justin Muturi, take steps to ensure that ‘mawa’ and ‘kaluvu’ are exempted from licencing for being cultural drinks.

He wants this to be done within 30 days from the date of the order, or within such period as the court may order, and that the respondents report the progress thereof to Chief Justice Martha Koome.

Further, in the documents filed at Kitui High Court, Muli wants a declaration that any question as to the regulation and brewing of the drinks solely falls under his office as the National Patron of the Anzauni Ndene Clan of Kenya.

Presenting his arguments, the petitioner told the court that the respondents have long restrained the Akamba people from preparing the brews citing their being illicit.

The action, he said, discriminates against the community and violates their right to practice their culture thus putting it at the brink of extinction.

Additionally, Muli said, it has negatively affected the cultural practices of the Akamba people and eroded the social fabric that has held them together since creation.

He faulted the CS for allowing the sale of foreign alcoholic drinks and continuing to restrict the sale of the Akamba local brews.

The court heard that the brews have no health implications, and the Akamba people should be allowed to continue brewing them as part of their cultural drinks.

In the aforesaid argument, he cites a research study by the Faculty of Pharmacy, College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi which was published in the East and Central African Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Vol. 1 No. 3, 1998.

Muli contended that since the High Court has declared that the Agikuyu traditional drink muratina which is prepared the same way as ‘kaluvu’, is not an illicit brew, the continued suppression of ‘mawa’ and ‘kaluvu’ is discriminatory.

‘Mawa’ is a millet beer, also known as Bantu beer which is an alcoholic beverage made from malted millet that is common throughout Africa. It is served in calabash gourds.

Kaluvu, also called kimee, is a fermented brew made using ‘muatine’, a sausage tree fruit (Kigelia africana) and honey.

It can be brewed in a barrel or a calabash (dried gourd) and is made naturally, without any additives.

It is an integral part of wedding ritual ceremonies and was traditionally also used in prayers in shrines especially when asking for rains.

A few drops of the drink would be poured out at the beginning of the prayer to “share” with the ancestors, usually speaking the words kundia vau, meaning “drink from there.”

The case was referred to Justice Elizabeth Karani, who set the mention date for May 28, 2024.

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