"One of my colleagues dropped a bottle of 'chang'aa' while saluting the DC!"

for Tv47 Digital September 11, 2021, 01:20 PM
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Sergeant Moses Kimenchu alias Sergeant Saviour. PHOTO/TV47

In Summary

  • Sergeant Saviour says he never understood why he was living with a drunk alcohol and not his father.
  • He has set up his own rehabitation centre called "Sergeant Saviour Rehab and Counselling Centre" in Murang'a.

A sip of traditional beer for a Class Five boy could be a petty crime among children, but for Sergeant Moses Kimenchu, popularly known as "Sergeant Saviour", it would form his path to an unexpected journey of alcoholism.

"I began drinking when I was in Class Five. I was living with my grandmother and uncle at the time," Sergeant Kimenchu narrates to TV47 Digital.

He tells of how he used to cautiously sneak to the kitchen area where his uncle brewed the liquor, and have a taste of the liquor, without been busted by his grandmother.

For him, those 'illicit sips' were his escape route from a grim reality... the absence of his parents. Up to now, he doesn't understand how he could not live with his parents and instead, had to put up with an alcoholic uncle.

His grandmother was not helping either. Whenever the young boy (now Sergeant Saviour) would enquire about the topic, she simply shrugged off with "your father is alive and does not take alcohol."

'Toxic' girlfriend threw him into alcoholism

While still at Class Five, Kimenchu got a girlfriend who fuelled his drinking spree into a bigger problem, because she was much older and already working. The lady would buy the minor some sugar to "sweeten" the brew, in exchange for sexual favours.

"Within one hour of consuming the brew I would be very drunk," the senior officer adds.

Lucky for him, he kept his drinking habit under wraps and continued with education through till Form Four, and passed well.

In a bid to make a living for himself, Kimenchu opened a shoe-shiner business in Meru town. One day, county askaris ambushed him and raided all his stock, from shoes he was mending, to his tools of work. He had to flee from Meru to Nkubu Town.

"These kanjo came and took away everything that I had, sindano, kamba, viatu za watu na kibanda wakabeba. They only left my heart. I had to go into exile."

He feared the shoe owners would take action against him on assumption that he had stolen, or even sold their footwear.

Life now takes a 'sweet' twist

In Nkubu town, he worked as a carwash service attendant, but even this new job would come with its fair share of temptations.

"I was cleaning someone’s car one day, when I found KSh60,000 in the car and took it. When I informed my father about it, he warned me against keeping the money so I returned it," Kimenchu says.

This noble action was the beginning of a life worth living for Kimenchu. Perplexed by the honesty of the young man, the car owner took him in as a house manager, before helping him get into the police force. Sergeant Kimenchu was first deployed to Garissa before moving to Kakamega Prisons.

Kimenchu duped by girlfriend

During retired President Mwai Kibaki's regime, Kimenchu was one of the officers whose salaries were reviewed up, "now I had some money to spare." He got another girlfriend.

"I was very serious about her. I even planned to marry her. I could go to their home often."

Just like most young men, Kimenchu had poured out his all on the lady, from paying an admission fee of KSh65,000 for a teachers' training college, to a mountain bike to help her navigate the hilly area during their dates.

January 2, 2008, was when Kimenchu intended to take the girl home to meet his family. However, right after Christmas into the New Year, Kimenchu's girlfriend went mute.

"From December 30, alikuwa mteja...mteja... I started wondering where she was. On the d-day, I went to her home but she was not there either. No one knew where she was. I had to surrender," the officer recalls.

Furious and dejected, he took the bicycle, went to a nearby river, crashed it and dumped it there. He went with a rifle to the school and demanded his KSh65,000 and vowed never to date again.

All this while, he kept his drinking under control. But one of his colleagues did not.

Kimenchu says during a posting at a District Commissioner's station, one of his colleagues dropped a bottle of chang'aa while saluting for the DC at the gate.

"We claimed it was the DC who had dropped it from his car. We spent six days in the cell. We saw stars," he laughs.

From then on, his journey into mentoring alcoholics began when he stumbled into a class on drug and substance abuse control. He went on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, HR and a postgraduate diploma in counselling.

Kimenchu opts to lay bare the negative effects of drugs and substance abuse, instead of simply locking suspects up and later releasing them. For most, he takes them to rehab to begin their journey of recovery.

Since most times he approaches drug abusers in his police uniform, he says it takes a while to build a rapport with them, so they can listen to him and accept to get into rehab. “People get afraid because of the uniform, but I tell them I’m just their employee so they should not be afraid of me.”

With COVID-19, Kimenchu says it has been a lot harder to reach out to drug abusers. He disputes that cases of suicide, killings have been mostly in the police sector. Instead, he says that cases regarding officers are more highlighted than those of ordinary Kenyans.

In 2018, he won a state commendation for going the extra mile in campaigning against drug abuse and being at the forefront of educating on mental health. The sergeant has also been awarded by the Red Cross and NACADA.

He is now attached to the NPS Headquarters, where he says his bosses have been very understanding. They allow him to carry out his “saving” mission. Although there have been setbacks including; lack of finances, victims relapsing and so on.

Now he has set up his own rehabilitation centre called “Sergeant Saviour Rehab and Counselling Centre” in Murang'a town.

One of the beneficiaries, Patrick Kamau has joined him in saving alcoholics. He met the sergeant in 2011 but would only accept to get into rehab in 2015. He however relapsed but luckily Sergeant Saviour brought him to rehab in 2019 and has been on the path to recovery ever since.

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