The Narok County government has been handed over the function of issuing out liquor licenses, a function that was previously conducted by the national government.
During the handover ceremony that took place at a Narok hotel on Friday , the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Victor Okioma said the fight against drug abuse cannot be left to one government alone.
“Narok is among the last county to take over the responsibility of liquor licensing. You should learn from the mistakes of the other counties and do this work well,” he said.
Through Kenya’s current constitution that was promulgated in 2010, two tiers of government were created: The
National government and the County government. The two levels were further allocated different functions.
What this handover means is that the licensing of the liquor businesses will now be the preserve of the county governments, while the National government will be in charge of enforcement. It means the counties have to come up with necessary legislations to enable them carry out this new responsibility.
Speaking during the hand-over ceremony, the Narok County Commissioner (CC), Samuel Kimiti said both levels of governments will work together to ensure the process goes smoothly.
“We have to get the job right from the start. When issuing licenses ensure that no bar is given a license if it is located near schools, hospitals or anywhere it shouldn’t be,” said Kimiti.
Furthermore he suggested that a record should be kept of all the people with licenses and when one makes a mistake, it is recorded and should not be allowed to renew their licenses.
“Anyone who is found selling beer to children will be arrested immediately and their license revoked,” he added.
The adminstrator also asked the newly formed liquor licensing committee to ensure that they involve the public in the process of allocating licenses to bars, saying the people have a right to say if they don’t want a bar near them.
NACADA also promised a special training for the new committee to help them understand the laws better with Okioma, urging them to put the health of the people before the revenue.
“We all have to ensure that people do not perish in alcohol consumption by regulating the consumption time thereby ensuring more time is left for development,” he said.
The committee formed has been tasked with various roles of promoting health, preventing underage drinking, educating the public on the effects of alcohol while also controlling and regulating the alcoholic drinks in the county.
Also present during the event was Narok County Executive Committee Member in charge of Administration & Coordination of Decentralisation & Disaster Management, Ezekiel Ron
By Mabel Keya-Shikuku/Joseph Kariuki