Kenya: Kill Me Quick

Among Nairobi's Africans, who judge an alcoholic beverage not by its taste but its kick, the most popular brew for the past 13 years has been a potion known as KMQ (Kill Me Quick), a throat-burning mixture of surgical spirits and methyl alcohol. Invented by a burly Luo tribesman named Akumu Onyiego, KMQ was precisely named: less than two pints of the stuff is a lethal dose.

The Kenya Legislative Council banned the sale of KMQ. But despite the threat of stiff fines, Akumu kept brewing, and despite the scores of stiffs found,...

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