Bar owners plan to sue after property destruction in State sanctioned raids

Bar owners are planning to go to court to seek damages following massive losses incurred during the raid on alcohol outlets.

The traders said the drinks they sell and which were destroyed during the crackdown were certified by the Government through Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and bore stamps from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Nyeri Bar Owners Association Secretary Kiama Gachanja said their members have suffered losses running into millions of shillings and they must be compensated.

“Kebs and KRA have allowed us to continue with our businesses, while our operations are licenced by the county government. We are going to meet and take stock of all the losses that the MP-led raid has caused us and sue them,” said Gachanja.

Naivasha bar owners association chairman John Muraya said they would sue the MPs today after invading private property. “We support the fight against killer brews but our MP led goons and turned the exercise into a vendetta war against his perceived rivals,” he said.

According to Gachanja, second generation brews have no standardisation marks.

Nakuru Senator James Mungai said it was barbaric and unconstitutional to loot and burn private property. Mungai said he supports ban on killer drinks but noted the operation had taken the wrong direction.

“The president was very clear on how the exercise should be carried out but it’s unfortunate that some leaders are leading youths to loot and burn private property,” he said.

But residents welcomed the operation, saying alcohol was to blame for the destruction of the lives. “We are fully behind our leaders in ridding the region of alcoholic drinks and we hope they will carry out more operations,” said Nyeri youth leader Samson Kagiri.

A spot check by The Standard in Nyeri town revealed that most supermarkets had removed alcohol from the shelves, fearing they may be targeted in the crackdown.

Meanwhile, leaders have urged caution in the ongoing war against illicit brews, saying it was wrong to invade lincenced businesses and destroy private property.

“Some people have also had property destroyed in the process and can take legal action and you also have to keep in mind that some of the people with licensed and legitimate businesses to sell alcoholic drinks operate in rented spaces. This process could have been handled in a much better way than it has,” Law Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Apollo Mboya told The Standard.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said on Twitter: “Destroying private property in the guise of fighting alcohol consumption is pretentious.”

Narc Kenya Chairperson Martha Karua said: “The actions of those in leadership and authority must always be within the law. Anything done outside of the law is thuggery.”