Speaker of County Assembly of Embu has clarified that County Assembly of Embu did not contravene any National Law by passing the Embu County Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill, 2019 recently.
Josiah Thiriku said that the national Alcoholic Drinks Control Act of 2010, popularly known as the ‘Mututho Law’ ceased to operate at the advent of devolution in 2013 and the restructuring of the Provincial Administration.
The Speaker pointed out that in the past, the mandate of licensing liquor dealers was done by the district commissioners, a position that does not exist in the current setup.
He added that the second part of the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya gave County Governments mandate to license liquor outlets as well as controlling drugs within their areas of jurisdiction.
Thiriku further noted that there was no other law to regulate alcohol sale within Embu County apart from the one recently passed by the County Assembly.
The Speaker who was speaking on Monday after certifying and dispatching copies of the law passed by the Ward Representatives for gubernatorial assent also clarified that the Assembly did not extend drinking hours as is alleged.
He pointed out that the former assembly had passed a similar law that allowed people to sell and drink alcohol as early as 2pm in the afternoon on official working days and 10am on weekends and public holidays which was corrected by the current bill.
However, he said the Assembly will continue to enact laws that will govern the liquor industry in the best ways possible and check the increase of illicit brews.
The Speaker urged the National Government Administration to stop criticizing the newly enacted Embu Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill, adding that Deputy County Commissioner, the Sub- County Administration Police Commander, the Officers Commanding Police Stations among others are members of the Sub-County Liquor Licensing committees responsible for vetting and allowing bars to operate, challenging them to avoid licensing numerous liquor outlets.
Thiriku said Embu County had an alcoholism problem, not a time management problem and needed interventions to address alcohol abuse, but not closing of bars.
He urged those not comfortable with the new alcoholic drink bill to note down the problematic areas that are sticking out and petition the Assembly to amend the legislation.
Last week, the County Assembly of Embu revised the official alcohol consumption hours in the county from 2pm to 3pm from Monday to Friday in a bid to curb the rampant illicit liquor.
In an amendment to the Embu County Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill, 2019 County Assembly Trade Committee also removal of limits on drinking hours in hotels, lodges, restaurants, members’ clubs and travelers’ lodges to allow 24 hour drinking.
By Kimani Tirus