•Only 623 traders out of the 2, 400 outlets in operation across the county, applied and we're allowed to trade
•The Nyandarua County Alcoholic Drinks Control committee is led by Former PC Joseph Kaguthi
Bar owners in Nyandarua County are up in arms after unlicensed liquor dealers invaded the local market to cash in on unsuspecting residents during the Christmas festive season.
Dealers in liquor and other alcoholic drinks in the region expressed fears that the proliferation unlicensed operators posed a health risk to the customers as some of the products they offered were counterfeit and hazardous.
Bar Owners Association Chair John Kariu claimed that the unscrupulous traders had taken advantage of the laxity of the enforcement officials during the festivities season to subject licensed operators to unfair competition.
The traders said it was unfair for them to have endured the vetting and payment of the license, only for their counterparts to sell and mint profits unregulated.
Only 623 traders out of the 2, 400 outlets in operation across the county, applied and we're allowed to trade.
"We do not know how to go about this as we are in the process of licensing for next year and this may compromise our efforts to bring sanity in this industry," Kariu regretted.
A spot check at Mairo Inya trading centre revealed a rather sorry state as the traders, most of whom contested the stringent measures in court, sold without licenses.
The Nyandarua County Alcoholic Drinks Control committee, led by Former PC Joseph Kaguthi, had listed among other requirements, display of certified alcoholic drinks on sale at the outlet, clean premises and distance from learning institutions as part of the requirements for approval.
Kaguthi regretted that the licensed traders had to compete with their unlicensed counterparts, absolving the courts of the confusion, saying no court order had allowed them to continue trading.
"The alcoholic licensing regime in Nyandarua is in shambles. The enforcement lacks and this has to stop,’” He said.
"We had rejected some of the applicants for others didn't even have toilets while others sold next to schools and farm land," noted Kaguthi.
He called upon the citizens to report any traders taking advantage of the weak enforcement to sell unauthorised liquor, for the police to act.
Nyandarua has since 2017 failed to regulate the sector, with the recent move that saw 623 outlets licensed facing drawbacks.
The committee had hoped that the licensing will curb proliferation of poisonous drinks that were rampant around the electioneering period, with Kaguthi regretting that this may not be achievable with weak enforcement.