Bar owners in Kirinyaga County have instructed their lawyer to move to court to seek legal redress, following closure of businesses belonging to some of their members by government agents.
Through their umbrella body, the Kirinyaga Bar Owners Association with a membership of 2100, the entrepreneurs claimed some liquor outlets have been arbitrary closed down without notice by a multi-agency task force, despite the operators having all the required permits from the area Liquor Licensing Board.
After a daylong meeting over the matter on Wednesday, the Association’s Chairman, Antony Mucheke told the media his affected members were being victimized for nothing by officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority, National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), the Kenya Bureau of Standards, and the Police who are currently undertaking a crackdown on illegal liquor outlets.
“In Ngurubani town, Mwea East sub county , 14 bars have been closed down without notice leaving the owners without any source of livelihood and it is on these premises that we have instructed our lawyer Ndegwa Njiru to take up the matter,” the official said.
It has been established that the crackdown is ongoing within Central Kenya Region and targeting liquor outlets which are within the 300 meter radius from schools and churches.
The crackdown is headed by NACADA assisted by other relevant government agents from the National government, according to the Kirinyaga County Police Commander (CPC), Leah Kithei.
NACADA‘s move is to ensure the 2010 Mututho laws which prohibited the existence of bars near schools and churches were complied with.
Njiru confirmed having received instructions from the Association and added that he will be filling an affidavit in court on Thursday morning.
“Having been dully instructed by the Association to move to court and seek for prohibitory orders baring the agents from further closures of the bars until the matter is heard and determined, I am doing so right away and by Friday, I will be filing the application,” he said.
The Association was formed in 2014 with the late Njagi Muthinji as its founding Chairman.
It was meant to counter the County Alcoholic and soft Drinks Act of 2014 which members felt was detrimental to their business
The Act outlawed the setting up liquor outlets within residential areas and rural environments.
By Irungu Mwangi