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MPs allege move to license bars

By Kamau Maichuhie | August 17th 2015
Thika MP Alice Ng'ang'a addressing bar owners who had attended a meeting convened by he county government in Thika.She is flanked by Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu(extreme right)Francis Waititu(second right)Jude Njomo(third right) and Moses Kuria(left).The MPs vowed not to allow licensing of new bars and wine and spirits Kiosks. PHOTO BY KAMAU MAICHUHIE.

A row pitting the county government and MPs over a move to license bars and wines and spirits kiosks afresh is simmering.

The MPs are accusing the county government of holding meetings with bar owners with the aim of agreeing where the alcohol outlets should be situated.

MPs Alice Ng'ang'a (Thika), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Jude Njomo (Kiambu Town) and Francis Waititu (Juja) have opposed the meetings claiming they were being used as a ploy by the county to issue licences for banned alcohol.

The MPs on Friday stormed and disrupted a meeting of bar owners that had been convened by the county in Thika town.

They demanded to know from Thika Sub-County Administrator Rose Kimani, who was chairing the meeting, why the county was ignoring a presidential directive on second-generation alcohol by seeking to issue new licences.

Efforts by Ms Kimani to explain to the lawmakers that the meeting was aimed at getting views from the public on the number of bars they wanted in their neighborhood fell on deaf ears.

"We do not know why the county government is in a hurry to issue new licences yet the sale of second-generation alcohol is still suspended as the Government works on a new policy and guidelines," said Ms Ng'ang'a.

presidential directive

Mr Waititu accused the county government of disrespecting the President by going against his directive, which banned the sale of second -eneration alcohol.

Mr Kuria said they would guard against any licensing of new wine and spirits kiosks using all their might and power.

"I want to tell the county government that if they want to see what we are made of, let them go ahead with their plans. That will only happen over our dead bodies," said Kuria.

However, the county's Director of Alcoholic Drinks, Michael Kang'ethe, refuted claims by the MPs saying there were no plans to issue new licences for the sale of the banned alcohol.

He said the meetings were aimed at discussing how best to deal with the illicit brew menace that had become a thorn in the flesh for locals.

"The county can never go against the presidential directive. The licences for the sale of second-generation alcohol stand revoked. Those tarnishing our name should desist," said Mr Kang'ethe.

He accused the MPs of leveling unfounded accusations against the county government saying they were not genuine but playing politics and advancing their 2017 agenda.

"Those making the outrageous allegations are the perennial critics of the governor and the county government who see nothing good in the administration," he said.

While speaking in Murang'a on Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated the Government's commitment in the fight against illicit brew and second-generation alcohol saying there was no turning back.

"We will not relent in the fight against illicit brew. Alcoholism has killed our youth and broken families, and should not be allowed to continue," he said.

The President called on the public to support the war against alcoholism and crime adding that the Government will support the rehabilitated youth to get jobs.

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