Bar Owners Protest Over Arrests

Bar owners in Embu County held peaceful demonstrations protesting the arrests of their employees and forceful closure of their premises by national government officials for operating without licences.

They accused Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Revenue Authority, Nacada and the police of arresting their employees during a crackdown the previous day and ensuring they are not released on bail.

The operators said the crackdown on licenses amounted to harassment since the County government has failed to issue them with this year’s licenses despite applying for the same.

They marched to the County Trade offices to demand for their intervention to facilitate the release of those arrested even as they accused the devolved unit of being behind their predicament.

Led by Susan Nyaga, one of the proprietors, they claimed that they had closed their premises for the second day and suffered huge losses due to the sluggish manner in which the area county government operated.

Nyaga said the crackdown should be stopped, until the county government starts issuing them with licenses.

We applied for the licenses months ago and have been waiting for them. It is not our mistake that we are operating without licenses. The county government should own up to this mess, she said.

Caroline Wawira, another bar owner said they have loans to repay and depend on businesses for their livelihoods.

County Trade Executive member David Kariuki said their lawyer was handling the situation and that those arrested due to lack of licenses will be released.

He said he had liaised with the County AP Commandant to have the crackdown on licenses stopped.

He however said those arrested for selling counterfeits or faulting other regulations will have to serve their punishment.

The CEC member assured bar operators that they will receive their operating licenses from Tuesday next week.

Source: Kenya News Agency