Saturday, June 10, 2023 – Bar operators in Murang’a are up in arms against Governor Irungu Kang’ata’s government following a move to reduce the number of bars operating in the area by 70% in line with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s order.
The group has intensified protests over the move saying this will lead to unemployment.
A meeting convened between bar operators and the county government turned dramatic after a demand for payment of KSh10,000 was tabled by Deputy County Secretary Benard Wanyoike.
This, county officials said, was to allow for the filing and hearing of the appeal over the closure of their bars.
The county warned that only those who go through a portal will be considered.
Chairman of the Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association (BAHLITA) Simon Njoroge and the traders accused the county government of not conducting a fair exercise in vetting and approving the bars.
“The county government is cunning when it says that we must pay the Sh10,000 for our appeals to be considered. If they insist on this, we’ll have no option but to sue and let the courts make a decision,” said Njoroge.
Murang’a Governor Irungu Kang’ata last week said only 1,032 of the 2,971 who had applied for licences to operate liquor outlets were granted the licences.
However, Njoroge said the process was unfair as some of the bars had been in operation for more than 20 years and the reasons given for rejection, unlike in the past, were not specific.
“Every bar employs at least three workers, with the trade around an establishment employing many more.”
“If the county government has jobs and other opportunities where those people can work, it should tell us and shut all bars in the county. It is clear that there are a lot of interested parties when it comes to bars, and we saw during the inspection how much the MCAs were interested, so this fight must continue,” he added.
Gachagua has declared total war on alcoholism in Mt. Kenya and is taking no prisoners.
The Kenyan DAILY POST