11 January 2013

Kenya: Traders Fault Plan to Close Bars During Poll

Bar owners in Murang'a have opposed plans to ban the sale of alcohol in the two days leading up to the March 4 general election.

They said they will move to court to block the amendments to the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act. The move to amend the law is spearheaded by Naivasha Mp John Mututho.

The players said they will lose millions of shillings if bars are closed for two days during the elections. Kenya Bar Owner's Association secretary James Waweru said if the bill passes in its current form, it will hurt the alcohol trade which employs many people.

He said is the bars are closed, revellers will be forced to drink illicit brews. "Closing down of the bars will not prevent politicians giving illicit brews to the youth during the election days," he added.

Other than banning the sale of alcohol in the two days to the election the law will also raise the legal drinking age to 21 years something that the bars owners are opposed to.

The players also faulted Mututho for not consulting them adding that there was no public participation adding that this should be undertaken before the law is amended.

"The new constitution requires public participation including stakeholder's consultation, so the proposed amendments to the act are not in line with the new constitution after the mover failed to consult," he added.

Waweru said the bars owners and the hoteliers should be given a given a hearing since they are still reeling from the impact of Alcoholic Drinks Control Act(2010) that introduced stringest laws.

"The amendments only target the bar owners where as the producers of illicit brews still operates as usual,"he added. He added that the bar owners are reading Mischief in the bill by the Mp who represents an area which produces illicit brews in huge quantities.

"Naivasha is the place where most of the illicit brews are manufactured and to avoid losing votes Mututho cannot make any propose to eliminate such," he added.

The Civic leader told off the Mp adding that he should stop playing games with other people's business. "Bars are often used as social places where people follow the proceeding of the election adding that shutting them down was wrong," he added.

He questioned why the bars should be closed adding that they will not be used as polling stations or tallying centres. He added that the bars have contributed money to file the suit as soon as possible.

The official at the same time called upon the provincial administration to ensure that illicit brews will not be sold during the campaign period. He told that politicians are buying cheap liquor to the youth to cause chaos or shout down their opponents.

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