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Bars in Eldoret to close on eve of August polls

Uasin Gishu County plans to shut down entertainment joints on the eve of August 9 polls to ensure all voters take part in the elections process.

County Commissioner Stephen Kihara said the move is part of measures to ensure peaceful elections and have all the eligible cast their votes during the general elections.

“We know alcohol can negatively impact on the normal reasoning of our youth,” said Kihata.

“As the security team, we will close bars or illicit brew business that day. We appeal to youth to cast their vote and be sober during the entire exercise.”

He spoke during a youth forum on peaceful elections free from alcohol and drug abuse that brought together more than 500 youth from the county.

At the same time, the members of clergy also called on the relevant authorities to follow suit and shut down the bars and other social joints.

Sheikh Abubakar Bini, Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) North Rift chairperson said that all bars should be closed on the eve of the elections and three days after IEBC declares the final results next month.

“We should close the bars three days after announcing results and on the eve of the elections. With use of alcohol, it can evoke emotions and may trigger them to cause chaos,” he said.

The cleric even criticized some political candidates for championing legalization of marijuana, saying the move will lead to decay of social fabric.

“We cannot enjoy peaceful co-existence when our youth continue to abuse alcohol and drugs. We want to ensure that we have alcohol free during the elections,” explained Sheikh Bini.

Bishop George Gichana, chairperson of more than 200 churches in the North Rift urged politicians to desist from misusing youth by buying them alcohol and other drugs during the elections.

“We are discouraging use of alcohol or drugs, let everyone be sober and make informed decisions not under influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Bishop Gichana, urging the youth not be misused by political leaders to engage in divisive politics.

NACADA chief executive Victor Okioma said that the agency had launched the campaigns in the counties that were listed as hotspots by National Commission on Integration and Cohesion (NCIC) to promote peaceful elections.

He said that they are holding similar forums with the youth in counties that include Nyamira, Kericho and Mombasa to sensitize the young people.

“Alcohol makes the youth intoxicated and their voices are not heard. When intoxicated, they are unable to participate in the voting process… through this forum, we want to engage them so that they become our peace ambassadors,” said Dr Okioma.