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Bar owners claim manufactures, distributors of deadly alcohol ‘untouchable’

The National Bar Owners Association (BAHLITA) says it knows people behind the distribution of the illicit brew recently blamed for the deaths of more than 20 people in Kirinyaga County.

Sadly, the same people, according to the association, have surrounded Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who is leading the fight against illicit liquor, and their attempts to draw the attention of the national government have borne no fruit.

The association has now come out to seek the attention of the DP and to be involved in the fight against such liquor since they have the intelligent report on how the contraband ethanol is being sneaked into the county through porous border lines.

The association National Chairperson Mr Simon Njoroge says that closing bars and clubs will not be a solution, since the same alcohol will be distributed to other areas and the effects will be the same with what was witnessed in Kirinyaga.

“As the association, we know who is manufacturing these alcohol, we know who is distributing this alcohol, and it is being distributed during the day. It is high time that the government should be serious because as an association, we are serious,” Mr Njoroge said.

Mr Njoroge said that the fight against the illicit alcohol in the country is a fight that must be fought by all the sectors, including the county governments, who are currently issuing licenses.

“It is a high time that to ensure that any distributor who is distributing alcohol in various counties should have a letter from the manufacturers saying that this is my distributor and I supposed to distribute these brands, and by that, all the poisons being sold on the ground will disappear,” Mr Njoroge said in a press address on Wednesday.

The association’s national secretary-general Mr Boniface Gachoka said that some of the politicians in the ruling party have taken advantage of their political influence to lock the association from submitting their grievances to Gachagua.

“There are people who are surrounding the Deputy President, who we feel have barred us from seeking to see him…it is us who have the intelligent information. There are cartels, the barons who have camouflaged in the government yet they are the ones who threatening enforcement officers, and our members to ensure that they don’t reveal the secret,” Mr Gachoka said.

The association members have been asked by the vigilant going forward since they might land on distributors who might sell to them illegal liquor, which might end up hurting their customers, and businesses.

Also, the association has suggested that it should be included in the county liquor boards, which will be useful to them to share the information that they have.

“We have not been involved but I have we have the information…the minute you start sidelining us, we say okay, you continue as we wait.”

Licensing liquor

On the suggestion that the national police should be allowed to license liquor shops, the association has welcomed the move, saying that under the previous constitution, the issuance of such licenses by the District County Commissioners (DCC) was transparent and there were no such cases of illicit liquor.

“Long time ago, we used to get our licenses from the DCC, and there was a good flow of it. We do not mind who will issue licenses, but what is in our minds is alcohol that is being consumed.”

The association has also suggested that the government laboratories should be devolved, to ensure that the suspected alcohol being confiscated in counties are being tested there, to avoid cases of corruption.

“If you arrest my alcohol of about Sh500, 000, and you tell me that you will preserve it in your office as it waits to be transported to the government chemist, I can run there and corrupt those people to give me suitable results. Let every county have a small laboratory.”


This comes as Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) announce the suspension of three manufacturers of alcohol in the country following nationwide complaints regarding the products.

The three suspended brands are Diamond Ice of permit number 26666, Flying Horse of permit 27247, and Flying Horse with registration permit 27253.

Kebs has asked Patiala Distillers to suspend the manufacture and sale of the mentioned brands, and to undertake a comprehensive withdrawal of such products from the market.

“Provide records of the distribution and the quantities of what has been recalled to KEBS. Institute comprehensive measures co counter any manufacture of the substandard products and counterfeiting of the same,” Kebs said.

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