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Cheap Ugandan liquor blamed for the increase in the number of bars

The  Busia County Director of Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs  Abuse, Patrice Lumumba has expressed concern over the upsurge of bars and liquor premises in the county.

Speaking during a stakeholder committee at Busia County Commissioner’s Boardroom on Tuesday, Lumumba said the number of bars have increased from 388 in 2018 to 410  this year.

“In Kenya a bottle of beer costs Sh.180 but in Uganda it costs Sh.100 and if you buy in bulk it is even lower,” he said, adding that it is profitable when brought to  the country.

He pointed out that the worst hit Sub Counties in the sale of smuggled beer includes Matayos with 78 bars, Butula 72, Teso North 73, Teso South 64, Nambale 30, Samia 49 and Bunyala 55.

“Butula is closely coming up with some bars stocking only Ugandan liquor,” he said adding that not all the applications have been approved.

The official at the same time said the county has not come up with a thresh-hold on the number of bars to be established in each Sub County.

“I will have to seek the legal aspect to establish how many bars we should have,” he said.

Lumumba further pointed out that a section of civil servants and politicians are involved in the liquor business and were using their positions to intimidate enforcement officers.

He at the same time said that some traders have developed close relations with the law enforcing agencies to the extent that arrests do not yield any fruits.

“It seems the new powers where the OCS is allowed to release suspects is being misused to the extent that the OCPD is never briefed,” he said, adding that suspects are being released even late at night frustrating the arresting officers.

The official argued that cases taken to the courts should be followed to the end to act as deterrence to those intending to engage in illegal trade.

The  Western Kenya Regional NACADA Regional Coordinator, Esther Okenye advised the committee to vet NGOs which visit schools to establish the kind of materials they bring to the learners.

Okenye  advised the committee to embrace a multi-agency approach in addressing the sale of beer meant for export in a number of bars instead of leaving it to the enforcement agencies alone.

The Busia County Commissioner (CC), Jacob Narengo on his part reiterated the need for multi agency approach and routine crackdown as a way of taming the vice.

By  Salome  Alwanda

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