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Draft law set to tighten noose on bar owners

CENTRAL
By By ANTONY GITONGA | November 20th 2013

By  ANTONY GITONGA

NYANDARUA, KENYA: Leaders and residents of Nyandarua County have endorsed a controversial Bill that seeks to address the sharp increase in the consumption of second-generation alcoholic brews.

Manufacturers will be the most affected by the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill, 2013, and could be forced to pay Sh2 million for adulterated drinks and have their products banned.

Bar owners selling against the stipulated trading time will pay a fine of Sh500,000 while those found drunk and disorderly will pay Sh1,000.

According to County Executive Secretary for Legal and Public Service George Kimani, the Bill would completely alter the manner in which alcohol is consumed.

He was speaking in Engineer Township in Kinangop during a stakeholders’ workshop on the intended Bill.

Social misfits

Kimani said manufactures were targeting youths in the area with cheap drinks, which had rendered them useless and misfits in society.

He said the Bill set to be tabled before the county assembly next month seeks to introduce harsh penalties on those who sell beer without the required standards and licences.

According to him, the devolved system has allowed the county to make its own laws to govern certain matters. He reiterated that controlling illicit liquor was a matter of agency.

“Previously, we would refer to the Mututho laws for our operations but the Act will cease to operate once the Bill has been approved by the county assembly,” he said.

He said unlike the Mututho laws, the new Bill, if enacted, would see the hours of selling alcohol reduced drastically.

Nyandarua County Assembly Deputy Speaker Wambugu King’ori said youths in the area were dying each day as a result of consuming lethal drinks.

“This alcohol comes from our neighbours in Nakuru and Kiambu counties and we have been left to mourn our youths every day,” he said.

He added that the county assembly would be recalled as a matter of urgency to debate the Bill so that it is passed before the beginning of the festive season.

However, bar owners in the area reacted sharply to the move, saying it was unfairly targeting their businesses.

According to Nyandarua South Bar Owners’ Association spokesman Joseph Maina, the new laws were a duplication of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010, which has already had adverse effects on their businesses.

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