Chiefs and their assistants in Central Kenya have up to the end of this month to seize and destroy illegal gambling machines.
The Central Regional Commissioner (RC), Wilson Njega warned the administrators that they risked sacking if they fail to execute their mandate within a fortnight.
Njega sounded the warning Thursday, at Mairo-Inya trading centre in Ndaragwa constituency, Nyandarua County when he led leaders in destroying gambling machines, bhang and illicit brews impounded from the area.
He directed the administrators to ensure they spend little time in office and the rest in the field confiscating the machines and netting bhang and illicit brews.
“The chiefs should only be available in the offices once a week to sign succession documents and applications for National identity cards until the crackdown on gaming machines, and illicit brew and drugs is fully implemented across the region,” Njega said.
He put on notice chiefs and other security officers who sympathized with those making the machines locally and trading in illicit liquors and bhang in the villages that the government will not spare them.
“We have already sacked two chiefs in Nyandarua North Sub County for failure to carry out their duties accordingly and we shall advertise their positions soon for able personnel to take over,” said Njega.
Njega noted that following the ban on importation of gambling machines in the country, residents have now started making their own machines which he also ordered to be destroyed.
The RC asked the county government to cease issuing licenses to gambling machines operators before they produce licenses from the Betting and Control Licensing Board (BCLB).
He explained that BCLB was the only agency under the Interior and Coordination of National government authorized to issue gaming machines.
“The county governments should not only focus on revenue collection but ensure this people have secured all licenses before the issue them gaming business license,” said Njega, adding that they will continue confiscating the machines if one lacks the document.
He warned the residents against consuming illegal brews at the expense of development, noting that the vice was the gate way to poverty.
The RC pointed out that illicit brews, drugs, gaming machines and crime are interlinked, adding that where the vices are common, the rate of crime is also high.
Speaking at the same event, Nyandarua County Commissioner (CC), Boaz Cherutich noted that Mairo- Inya town had more alcohol drinking joints than any other town in the area.
“We have 46 bars in Mairo-Inya out of the 1,200 bars across Nyandarua County, a number that exceeds churches, schools and eateries combined,” Cherutich noted.
Some 85 gambling machines, 30 kilogrames of bhang, 310 litres of Kang’ara, 50 litres of chang’aa and some litres of second generation liquor were destroyed.
By Mwangi Gaitha