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Kapsowar residents advocate permanent closure of bars

Residents of Kapsowar are rallying for the permanent closure of bars within the town, citing a range of societal and moral issues associated with their operation.

During a recent public participation forum held in Kapsowar town, citizens voiced their unanimous demand for the continued closure of these establishments. They raised poignant concerns, with many asserting that the proliferation of bars had adversely impacted their families and the community at large.

“The joints have made our children and husbands slaves to alcohol,” remarked one resident, reflecting a sentiment echoed by many.

“We see the devastating effects firsthand, with some individuals unable to function for days due to excessive drinking.”

Residents also pointed out that many bars failed to comply with regulations mandating a minimum distance of 300 meters from schools, churches, and residential areas.

Furthermore, they criticized the establishments for disregarding stipulated opening and closing times, exacerbating disturbances in the neighborhood.

However, the proprietors of these bars are not conceding without a fight. They are advocating for a comprehensive reevaluation process, arguing that not all establishments engage in unlawful practices.

“Our livelihoods depend on these businesses, providing sustenance for our families,” emphasized Benjamin Kipkorir the chairman of the bar owners association.

“We urge authorities to address issues with specific bars selling illicit alcohol rather than penalizing all,” he added.

The debate has also drawn attention from various community stakeholders. The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) threw its weight behind the closure, citing the detrimental impact of alcoholism on educators and students alike.

Religious leaders echoed similar sentiments, viewing the closure as a step towards combating societal ills.

“Closure of the bars is an answered prayer,” remarked Robert Chesorwo, AIC pastor. We must continue on this path to safeguard our families and our values.

Father Benjamin Kanda of the Catholic Church emphasized the need to address underlying issues of greed fueling the alcohol trade. “Let us fight the origin of the issue, not just the end,” he urged, highlighting the importance of holistic approaches to tackling substance abuse.

Marakwet West Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), John Chirchir, assured the community that all bars would undergo rigorous inspection and vetting to ensure compliance with regulations.

“Community interest overrides individual interest,” he stated. “We encourage anyone with pertinent information to come forward and contribute to the process.”

Chirchir also urged families to seek help for those struggling with addiction, suggesting rehabilitation centers in Iten as a resource for support.

“We want everyone to stay sober, but ultimately, it’s a personal choice,” he remarked.

The DCC expressed optimism that upcoming transfers in police personnel would aid in the enforcement of regulations.

“With new officers unfamiliar with the market players, the fight against illegal alcohol sales will be strengthened,” he concluded.

By Rennish Okong’o

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