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How Kenyans are turning to Pineapple’s leaves to make alcohol – Lifestyle –





  • It’s a
    fact that Kenyans love drinking and as a result Kenya is a drinking nation.
  • So what
    happens when one wants to drown their sorrows and they can’t afford alcohol?
    They improvised and put their High School Chemistry skills to use.
  • A section
    of Kenyans are now boiling discarded pineapples leaves to make alcohol.

They say ‘necessity
is the mother of invention’
it seems Kenyans have whole earthly embraced the saying and taken it to heart.

It’s a
fact that Kenyans love drinking and as a result Kenya is a drinking nation.

to beer manufacturer Diageo, Kenya is among five African countries that
consumes large quantities of Guinness and as such features high on the Guinness
world beer consumption rankings.


A group of men in Western Kenya sharing a traditional alcoholic drink locally known as Busaa. (Face2Face Africa)


as much as Kenyans love to down their brown bottles and spirits, not all of
them can afford to buy alcohol especially in these tough economic times.

Since 1st
September when the 16 per cent levy on petroleum product came into effect,
there has been a countrywide uproar, with Kenyan commuters especially feeling
the pitch after the public transport sector decided to unitarily increase fares
by as much as 40 per cent.

Uhuru Kenyatta last week rejected the Finance Bill 2018 which among other
things had proposed the total scrapping of the 16% Value Added Tax (V.A.T) on
petroleum products, proposing instead to slashing it by half to 8% which is
still steep.


President Uhuru Kenyatta raising a toast. (the star)

is yet to deliberate on the matter and for now Kenyans are effectively
condemned to a high cost of living.

So what
happens when one wants to drown their sorrows and they can’t afford alcohol?
They improvised and put their High School Chemistry skills to use.

That is
exactly what a section of Kenyans have been doing  in recent days and in
the true definition of entrepreneurship have turned what was until now a
‘useless waste product’ into a key ingredient in the making of a potent alcohol
which is quickly gaining fame.


A section of Kenyans are now boiling discarded pineapples leaves to make alcohol. (Facebook)


A section
of Kenyans are now boiling discarded pineapples leaves to make alcohol.

first getting wind of the story on Let’s
Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page
one of the most popular Facebook groups in Kenya with more than one million
members, Business Insider SSA (BISSA) decided to go on a fact finding mission
to get to the bottom of the matter.

It is not
yet clear how the pineapple leaves alcoholic drink was invented and whether it
was by accident or through the work of a genius, but after one member posted
the ‘invention’ on the group, within minutes thousands of comments started
trickling in with some members  confirming its authenticity and potency
while others promised to immediately try out the new drink.

Also read: Meet the deadly and illegal alcoholic brews of Africa


A Facebook post on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page about the Pineapple alcoholic drink. (Facebook)


then one member after another has been posting their experiences about ‘the new
drink in town’ on the page with all being positive.

“It is
true I have actually tasted the drink and I can confirm it has alcoholic
properties, its tastes more like Mnazi (palm wine) or Muratina (local fermented honey beer),” 
Pamellah Odour, an entrepreneur and Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals group
admin and founder tells BISSA.


Pamellah Odour, an entrepreneur and Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals group admin is all similes with a Chinese trader while she was in China. (Courtesy)

discovering the ‘drink’, Pamellah, who recently came back from China, went home and prepared the leaves herself
much to her joy – here is how to prepare the ‘new drink in town’.

“So to
make the drink, the first thing you do is buy pineapples and wash them
thoroughly before you start peeling. After that, you take the peeled leaves and
put them in a Sufuria (cooking pot) and mix them with water and sugar and then
boil the contents. When it is still lukewarm, you add yeast, seal it and then
store it for a minimum of 24 hours,”  
says Pamellah.


The Pineapple alcoholic drink ready to be served. (Facebook)

adds that there are several ways of enjoying the drink.

nice and for those who find it too harsh, you can use it for other fruit juices
to make cocktails.”


Also read: This smart Entrepreneur is leading Kenyans back to their kitchens one meal at a time


The Pineapple alcoholic drink can be enjoyed as cocktail too. (Courtesy)

Don’t be
too quick to dismiss the ‘invention’ as nothing more than the work of idle
Kenyans. The invention actually holds water and the drink is real as BISSA
found out after speaking to Paul Kimani, a Chemistry graduate from Jomo
Kenyatta University.

pineapple leaves can be turned into alcohol. After all, some alcoholic drinks
are actually made from fermented fruits. Pineapple leaves have sugar that is
what is normally broken down into alcohol, mostly ethanol. I think by boiling
it they want to break it down further into simple sugars so that when they add
yeast, the conversion to alcohol is quicker,”
Kimani tells BISSA.


The alcoholic drink is made from discarded pineapple leaves. (courtesy)


As to how
potent the drink is Kimani, who recently cleared his Masters in Analytical
Chemistry,  says the final solution is more of a wine than a whiskey or
hard spirit.

final solution is indeed alcoholic but not so potent. You will end up making
something more like wine than whiskey because the yeast is made of Zymase and
it’s a living organism so it can’t produce a lot of alcohol content more than I
think 12%. In my estimation, the pineapple leaves can produce alcohol content
of between 4% – 12% depending on how long you let them stay.”


A positve review post about the drink on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page. (Facebook)


have a knack for coming up with inventions to survive whenever life pushes them
to the edge.

this year after the government imposed a charcoal ban effectively pushing up
the cost of living, many Kenyans transformed their simple thermos flasks from
storing tea and beverages into a daily cooking utensil as they moved to save
time, cost and energy.

began cooking foodstuff such as Githeri (mixture of maize and beans) to chicken
wings using thermos flasks.


A user shares his thermos cooking experience on Facebook (Face book)

equation goes something like this: boil water + add dried ingredients in
thermos x a few hours = hot and healthy meal.

The new
‘invention is just another testament of their ingenious spirit.


A pineapple vegetable vendor in Nairobi,Kenya. (Facebook)


demand for pineapple leaves is now so high that the streets of Nairobi and
estates’ dumpsites are virtually minus the leaves.

A few
vegetable traders with an entrepreneurial mindset are reported to have even
started selling the leaves instead of throwing them away as was the norm

With life
expected to be even harder as days goes by one thing is for certain, more and
more Kenyans will soon discard their pricey drinks for the cheaper ‘pineapple
leaves alcoholic drink’ and turn their houses into little distilleries.

Expect to
be served with the ‘new drink in town’ should you pay Kenya a visit any time



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised


“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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