Nairobi News


Don’t touch us! – Licensed bar owners to Sakaja on crackdown

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja’s ongoing crackdown on liquor shops near bus stops and terminals has received support from the National Bar Owners Association (BAHLITA).

The Nairobi City County Government is carrying out an operation to shut down shops illegally selling wine and spirits to matatu drivers and touts near stages.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, February 28, the association’s national chairman, Simon Njoroge said that while the move was welcome, the governor should not touch the licensed bars.

“Some of the wine and spirits shops are selling alcohol without following the law. Wine and liquor shops are meant to buy and go, not to buy and drink. That is what has caused this uproar. I want to thank the Governor of Nairobi for recognising this,” said Mr Njoroge.

He said the association was seeking the governor’s attention to address some of the challenges facing the liquor sector and how to solve some of the problems and create a good working environment for genuine liquor shops.

“We need to sit down with him to see that if somebody is doing a good business and not selling the alcohol in fractions, let us have serious wines and spirits. Let me be called a wines and spirits wholesaler.”

Wine and spirits shop owners were urged to avoid selling alcohol in wine and spirits shops and to follow the guidelines that apply to them to avoid such conflicts with the authorities.

Also read: Liquor suspected to be laced with poisonous chemicals seized

His views were echoed by the association’s secretary-general, Boniface Gachoka, who said licensed premises should not be affected by the ongoing crackdown, which has so far resulted in the closure of more than 120 shops.

“We should differentiate between genuine alcohol and businesses and illicit alcohol and unlicensed businesses. We have said that we will not allow illegal businesses to continue to harm our people,” said Gachoka.

During the address, the association called on the national government to involve them in the fight against the illicit brew, saying they have the information on the manufacturers and distributors of illegal alcohol.

The association lamented that attempts to contact Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who is leading the fight against illicit alcohol, were thwarted by some of the influential people around him.