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March 22, 2018

30,000 bars are too many, we only need 7,000, says City Hall

Chiefs destroy illicit liquor at Motherland slum, Eastleigh, on July 14, where they found 2,000 litres / COLLINS KWEYU
Chiefs destroy illicit liquor at Motherland slum, Eastleigh, on July 14, where they found 2,000 litres / COLLINS KWEYU

At least 23,000 bars, clubs and other alcohol drinking outlets in Nairobi could be shut down by March for operating without license.

City Hall is carrying out census of all the liquor selling establishment in the capital following complaints of the growing number of the joints.

“Preliminary findings have shown that we have around 30,000 establishments in Nairobi. These are too many for this city. We only need about 7,000,” the county liquor board chairman Vincent Shimoli said.

Shimoli said some of the joints are too close to learning institutions while others are right inside the estates, making noise to the residents and affecting the youth.

“For example in Eastlands, Pewa Street in Umoja estate there are 700 bars on a stretch of 300 metres. Now we cannot talk about Kibera and other informal settlements,” he said.

The chairman said lack of effective enforcement and reluctance by some agencies to help fight the war has perpetuated the problem in the city.

Concerning the crackdown on illicit and second generation alcohol ordered by the President last week, Shimoli blamed the police for slowdown saying they have been compromised by those selling the liquor.

“Every evening you see police, some in civilian clothes walking to slums where the alcohol is sold. What do they go to do there? As a board, we do not have the capacity to enforce, we rely in the police,” he said.

The board’s core mandate is to regulate and issue licenses to those seeking to establish bars, clubs and other alcohol selling establishments. City Hall rakes in about Sh300 million every year from the licenses.

The chairman however called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to legalise the traditional alcohol like Chang’aa and Busaa.

“The president should really reconsider this. Chang’aa and Busaa has been with us and we cannot do away with it. We beed to support those brewing them,” he said.

He said over 300,000 litres of Chang’aa is exported to Nairobi daily from the Western part of the country.

“If the president can give Sh1 billion to miraa farmers, then why can’t he do the same to these mama’s selling alcohol. We need to support them,” he said.

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