Lack of coordination between the national and county governments in the implementation of Alcoholics Drinks Control Act has been cited as a big impediment in the fight against alcoholism in the country.
The Judiciary said there was a major disconnect between the two levels of government in the implementation of the liquor laws especially on the part of licensing being undertaken by counties.
Area Senior Principal Magistrate (SPM) at Karatina Law Courts, Florence Macharia said liquor licensing that was devolved to the counties was not well coordinated, leading to huge gaps in the law.
Macharia said despite the law spelling out the conditions that must be met before issuance of permits to alcohol outlets, counties continued to license them to operate in contravention of the set guidelines.
Speaking on Friday at the Nyeri Law Courts during the launch of Court Users Committee, the magistrate said operators walked scot free despite contravening key provisions such as distance to residential areas and schools just because they were in possession of licenses to operate.
The motivation of majority of counties in fast tracking the enactment of liquor licensing, despite lacking legal capacity has been largely attributed to anticipated revenue from the fees and not necessarily addressing the harmful effects of alcohol.
The Nyeri Central Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Kimutai Ng’eny called for teamwork between the two tiers of government to eradicate the menace of alcoholism and drug abuse that was threatening to wipe a whole generation.
“Let us not collect revenues and sacrifice our people in the process,” said Ng’eny, adding that the two levels of government should play complementary roles to ensure success of the war.
Area Governor, Mutahi Kahiga admitted failure on the part of his government in effectively waging war on alcohol, saying licensing had for sometime followed political interests.
The governor announced he would be taking radical measures to bring the matter to order, including putting together a new team to set out the correct way of doing things.
“We are in the process of gazzetting new members, and we will be strict and follow the law in this war,” he said.
The Nyeri Residential Judge and the Chairman of the Court Users Committee (CUC), Jairus Ngaah called for collaboration between all stakeholder in the judicial sector for effective and efficient administration of justice.
By Samuel Waititu