Regional Commissioner unveils team to carry out crackdown on alcohol joints

Laws generated by County Governments on alcohol do not conform to national laws being applied by National Authority for the Campaigns against Drug Abuse (NACADA), Nairobi Regional Commissioner William Kang’ethe Thuku has said.

Thuku raised concern about the laws saying, National laws are supreme and when County laws do not conform, they are invalid.

He was speaking on Monday evening at his Nyayo house office after unveiling a 56 multi- sectoral team set to carry out a crackdown on alcohol selling joints within Nairobi County.

He said some officials had been dishing out liquor licenses contrary to the law, a move that has seen an increase in the number of bars and illicit manufacturers.

Wines that are counterfeit are being manufactured. Why would one sit in an office and decide to give out licenses yet the County Licensing Committee is supposed to do that with minutes documented, he said.

The team is composed of officials from NACADA, KRA, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-counterfeit agency, National government administration, National Police Service and public health.

The Regional Commissioner said there were several unlicensed manufacturers producing chang’aa, and illegal bars that did not comply with the set drinking hours.

Thuku said the number of alcohol selling joints within the County also needed to be reduced, stating, We need a working nation. We also need to ensure that we have nabbed big consignments and publicize it to act as deterrent.

Thuku at the same time heaped blame on public health department saying it had been a big letdown as areas where the liquor was being sold were normally wanting.

Alcohol manufacturers have often complained of loopholes that have allowed the illicit brews to enter the market. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is also working with alcohol manufacturers and traders in a fresh bid to stamp out fake or illicit drinks from the market through sensitization workshops.

Each County has its own liquor laws which were different and most manufacturers want the licensing mandate for manufacturing and importing liquor taken away from the county governments to the national government.

Manufacturers have proposed the adoption of Alcoholic Drinks Control Amendment Bill of 2016, which proposes that all importers and manufacturers get their licenses from the national government with regulated standards.

Nairobi County Commissioner Amos Mariba said there were over 30, 000 bars that needed to be inspected in the County.

The crackdown comes a week after Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i called on bar owners to apply for licenses afresh and be vetted before being allowed back in the trade.

The CS was launching a national crackdown on illicit liquor in Kiambu County which has more bar outlets than public primary schools.

Source: Kenya News Agency