Embu bars exceed schools, blamed for insecurity

The large number of bars in the county is raising security concerns, an administrator has said.

Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said a recent census by the county security team had found there were 2,008 bars compared to 532 schools.

Mr Nakoru said cases of alcoholism were on the rise, adding that this had a negative impact on the county economy because people chose to drink instead of work.

He also faulted the Embu County Alcoholic Drinks Act, which set drinking hours from 2pm to 11pm. The national alcohol drinking hours, however, start three hours later at 5pm.

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“We have engaged the Embu county government on the issue of licensing too many bars and setting longer drinking hours. They have promised us that the assembly is working to amend that law,” Nakoru said.

The administrator appealed to residents to report bar owners who allowed patrons to sneak into their joints – sometimes through the back door – outside the stipulated drinking hours.

He said in some parts of the county where robberies, muggings and murders had shot up, investigators had linked the crimes to the presence of many bars in those locations.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has previously called for a reduction in the number of bars that have 24-hour licences.

Ms Kariuki singled out Manyata town, saying it had too many bars and illicit liquor outlets, and that most residents "were half-drunk during the day".

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“In the village where I was born, we have more than enough bars so the place has many drunks. The county government should review its licensing model to control alcohol consumption,” she said.

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