Four relatives from Mwania Mbogo village in Gatanga Constituency, Murang’a County have died after consuming a traditional brew.
The four, three brothers and their cousin had gathered for a house opening ceremony and the host gave them muratina, a traditional brew.
After consuming the brew on Wednesday, two of them fell ill on Thursday and were rushed to Thika Level Five Hospital but died on Friday while the other two died on Saturday at the same hospital after being taken ill on Friday.
Acting Murang’a County Police Commander David Kandie told the Nation that the four showed signs of general body weakness and fever.
“We have arrested the wife of one of the deceased brothers who hosted their relatives for the opening of their house to establish the truth on where the alcohol was brewed,” the police boss said.
He added that they have also forwarded a sample of the brew to the Government Chemist to establish whether it contained poison.
Mr Kandie said despite residents enjoying the remaining muratina, no other person was taken ill.
“According to the information we have gathered so far, we are told that more water was added to the brew that remained and given to the relatives who visited them the following day and they have not been hospitalised,” he said.
The incident comes barely a month after a Kiambu court ruled that brewing and drinking muratina during Kikuyu traditional ceremonies is not illegal.
Kikuyu Principle Magistrate D N Musyoka in March observed that the Constitution has a mandate to protect the cultures of all tribes in Kenya and no law created can infringe upon those cultural practices.
“They have to celebrate their traditional rites of passage through various ways and muratina must form part of the celebrations,” Mr Musyoka said in his judgment.