Sakaja changes tune on noisy bars, nightclubs crackdown

Nairobi City County governor Johnson Sakaja speaking during MOU signing on School feeding programme for public primary Schools. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja has directed county enforcement officers not harass nightclub and bar owners during the night hours.

Sakaja however said the county government will strictly enforce the law on sale of liquor and operations of bars and nightclubs but in a manner to achieve the intended goal without harassment.

“What good does it do to raid clubs, arrest the DJ, confiscate equipment and send clients scampering? This is not the goal. The goal is to ensure that the proprietors follow the law,” the Governor said.

He added that “Enforcement officers should access an offending premise, measure the decibels and collect all the evidence they need, issue an enforcement notice and leave, then return the next day during the day to take the action,” he said during a cabinet meeting.

At the same time, the County Executive approved the zoning of areas where night club licenses can be issued.

 They include the City Centre, Westlands Centre, Industrial Area, parts of Ngara and Pangani, several areas in Eastlands, the corridors along Mombasa Road and Thika Highway, shopping malls among others.

The statement by Sakaja has been welcomed by Bar Owners. They said that the governor’s move will save jobs for about 7000 of its members in Nairobi.

Hotels and Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BHALITA) Secretary General Boniface Gachoka said the bar owners are willing to adhere to the set laws and guidelines.

“Through consultations and collaboration we see a mutual benefit relationship that will bolster investors’ confidence and growth,” Gachoka stated.

Sakaja’s directive comes about two weeks after Nairobi Regional Commissioner Katee Mwanza said no clubs should operate in residential areas or about 300 metres from learning institutions.

“We have received several complaints from Sub-Counties that there are noisy night-clubs still operating in residential areas,” Mwanzasaid in a circular dated August 17 to all Deputy County Commissioners.

In the circular, Mwanza said that both National and County Government directed their relevant staff to form multi-agency teams to ensure that no clubs operate in residential areas.