Nyandarua county sags under the weight of bars

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 23:16 |
Mairo-Inya town of Nyandarua leads in number of bars in the entire county, where many are accusing the government of arbitrarily issuing licenses to operate drinking. Photo/PD/David Macharia

There are people, including Deputy Governor Cecilia Mbuthia, who believe that Nyandarua means the place where God takes a rest.

But to them, God might have taken a flight from the county because of the drinking habits of its people. The county is sagging under a huge number of bars.

When Governor Francis Kimemia took over from Daniel Waithaka, the county had 1,200 licensed bars.

Today, the number has doubled and Kimemia admits that drinking joints are now more than schools and churches combined.

The true picture of the huge number of bars in Nyandarua is clearly illustrated when one visits Mairo-Inya trading centre where the number of bars outnumber butcheries and ordinary shops by far.

How the number of bars increased from 1,200 to 2,400 bars has become a blame game since the county has not issued new licenses since 2017.

Security agents

Jeremiah Maroro, Senior Assistant Director in the Office of Director of Public Prosecution in charge of Nyandarua expressed the frustrations security agents faced in a bid to punish people involved in illegal alcohol trade in the County.

“The (County) laws provided that in an event no licenses are issued, the previous license remained valid until the next one is issued; that next one has never been issued (in Nyandarua).

“We do not know whether to charge suspects or what to do with them. What becomes of other people who desire to enter this business?,” Maroro posed.

 Nyandarua Speaker Ndegwa Wahome says the County had never had a vacuum in alcohol laws, blaming the executive for sluggish implementation of the law that has been there and which was recently amended.

 “Implementation and operationalisation of the Nyandarua Alcoholic Drinks Amended law of 2019 is the issue here as there has never been a vacuum,” said Speaker Wahome.

The Speaker was referring to amended Alcoholic Drinks amended law, which was signed by Governor Kimemia on Tuesday this week.

Mbuthia, in defence of the County government, blamed the assembly for delaying the passing of the laws, but added that “finally, the County has something to base the much envisaged reduction of mushrooming bars” in reference to the amended law.

The deputy governor said the new Control laws form a clear structure with which the bars can be reduced from 2, 400 to an acceptable number.

“We will be conducting public participation so that people say where they want and where they don’t want a bar, as there are many bars than schools here,” regretted Mbuthia.

The new law has provided for national government administrators to be members of licensing boards as Kimemia said: “Finally, I have signed the Nyandarua County Alcoholic (Amendment Bill) 2020 into law. Recent amendments have made the new Act a more inclusive document in deliberation and implementation to ensure its effectiveness.

Accordingly, the Act accommodates the County Commissioner and County Police Commander in the enforcement of laid-down measures and regulations.”

Speaking after signing the new law, the Governor warned that County staff behind the mushrooming of number of bars could be punished.  

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