To Imenti constituents, the late Gideon Mwiti was widely known as ‘Livondo’, meaning Mr Moneybags in the fashion of a generous western Kenya politician of whom little is heard these days.
From what people could see, the former Imenti Central Member of Parliament, who died today, had a steady cash flow from his alcohol sale business, which he later decided to quit to, he said, eradicate alcoholism in society.
“I used to sell alcohol in Nairobi making up to Sh300,000 a day, but I have closed that business,” the deceased once said.
“I used to drink Martel, the most expensive alcohol in the world, but I have quit because alcohol is alcohol and there is no difference between the second generation and first-generation.” he went on.
At one point in 2015, Mwiti went public in the Assembly of God church where he re-affirmed his salvation and showed off his preaching skills.
This was just a day after he had sold off his bar, in what could have been translated as either turning of a new leaf or just a political gimmick.
“Pastors saying it is okay for Christians to visit bars have a problem. How do you carry keys to a bar and church in one pocket?” Mwiti said.
This was just weeks after his rape allegations case had been suspended by Justice Weldon Korir to allow him to challenge the legality of his prosecution.
Just before the 2017 General Election, he proposed in parliament a law guaranteeing insurance coverage for consumers of alcoholic beverages.
The Alcoholic Drinks Control Act bill sought to have beer manufacturers put between 5 and 10 per cent of their revenue in insurance companies to compensate individuals (alcohol consumers) who suffer damages.
“The bill is a win-win for both consumers and manufacturers. The latter being compelled to ensure their consumers are engaged in responsible drinking.” Mwiti said to journalists at the Parliament building.
Mwiti argued that it was a fact that alcohol drinkers sometimes suffered huge losses to their habit, including damaged vehicles from accidents, job loss, and even terminal illnesses.
“In the event of death, if a competent medical professional such as a doctor ascertains that certain damages such as terminal disease or death were the result of excessive alcohol consumption, then the manufacturer of the said beverage must compensate the affected person’s family and dependents. It also requires that every alcoholic drink sold must have an insurance sticker,” a snippet of the Bill read.
His proposal did not see the light of day.
Mwiti was first elected to Parliament in 2013 on a Jubilee Party ticket to represent Imenti Central, a seat he held for five years.
Mwiti lost his seat to the current MP Moses Kirima, prompting him to take a short break from active politics.
He succumbed to diabetic complications at the age of 57.
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