Showdown looms as Waititu orders all bars closed in illicit brew crackdown
A showdown is looming after Governor Ferdinand Waititu ordered all bars closed.
This follows signing into law of Kiambu County Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2017 last Thursday.
Waititu said all bars in the county did not have licences as far as the new law was concerned.
The decision by the governor, who wants to use the law to fight illicit brews in the county, has resulted in a bitter exchange between him and the traders.
The bar owners accused the governor of using the new law to frustrate legitimate businesses to achieve selfish ends.
The law seeks to regulate manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol. All bars are expected to close down pending vetting and fresh licensing.
Kiambu Bar Liquor Association chairman Richard Kagiri also accused the governor of being hellbent on driving them out of business.
Kagiri said they would defy Waititu’s order because they were not engaging in illicit brew business.
“We want the governor to know all the genuine bar owners will not follow his order. We are not in any way engaged in illegal business. All our members do not sell illicit brews but legally approved beer,” said Mr Kagiri.
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Waititu, who spoke after signing the Bill into law said: “The new legislation is meant to fight the deeply entrenched illicit brew menace in the region which has claimed many lives in the past.”
“As things stand, there is no bar which has a licence. We will launch a crackdown to ensure no bar is operational. All the bar owners will be required to apply afresh. Residents will have a say on the bars they want in their localities,” said Waititu.
He said the renewed fight on illicit brew would not be easy since some people wanted the status quo maintained.
“It will no longer be business as usual but I am equal to the task. I am aware some people will go to court but I am ready for it.”