MCAs direct Sakaja to reopen night clubs in residential areas
In what could come as a relief to bar owners in Nairobi, a section of the Member of County Assembly (MCAs) has directed Governor Johnson Sakaja to lift the order that led to the closure of night clubs in residential areas.
The order issued on November 25, 2022, affected over 30 night clubs that were accused of playing loud music.
Amid support from President William Ruto, Sakaja maintains residential areas should be free from noise at night to allow children to sleep peacefully.
But then, the MCAs now say the order ‘was not clear and is affecting all the night clubs’ including those that are complaint.
They adopted the report by the Sectoral Committee on Culture and Community Services acting on a petition by the Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya (PERAK).
According to PERAK, Sakaja’s order was indiscriminate and disregarded the fact that the same county government had issued the licences for the businesses to operate as nightclubs.
This comes as it emerged that only 400 of Nairobi’s 12,000 licensed bars are licensed to operate at night.
Sakaja’s order had given county enforcement officers police officers the wherewithal to ruthlessly enforce the order.
The club owners had argued that order had put at risk the income of about 60,000 workers in the sector that generates income of Sh21 billion per year.
In the report adopted by the Assembly, the MCAs directed the enforcement officers from the County Government and the national police to immediately cease to enforce the order pending its clarification.
The reversal of the order comes days after the governor was criticised by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua for making his orders without consultation over the negative effects to the businesses.
Recently, the governor issued an order stopping the long distance matatus from operating within CBD, and relocated them to the New Green Park Terminus.
However, the Green Park remains deserted as the court asked the governor and a section of matatu owners who were dissatisfied to have an engagement to agree on the way forward.
In the report adopted yesterday, the MCAs also asked for a review of the revoked license for the night clubs that are compliant.
Part of PERAK’s complaint was that there are grey areas in the planning of the city that have blurred the lines between commercial and residential areas.
“The County Executive Department of Urban Planning to come up with a clear definition of a residential area and commercial area,” part of the report reads.
While night clubs used to be based in Nairobi’s Central Business District, most were forced to shut down or reduce their activities as enforcement of rules against drink driving and business dynamics pushed revellers out of the city.
They were also asked to come up with clear ways and guidelines on how to control disorderly patrons and solve the issue of parking within a period of one month.