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Nacada orders nationwide crackdown on bars near learning institutions

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) has ordered the closure of bars and alcohol outlets near learning institutions.

In a statement on Monday, May 27, chief executive officer Anthony Omerikwa said the crackdown will affect all establishments located less than 300 metres from educational institutions or areas that cater for people under the age of 18.

“The initiative is anchored on the Alcoholic Beverages Control Act 2010, which stipulates that such establishments must be located at least 30 metres from nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools or other educational institutions that cater for persons under the age of eighteen (Section 12(1)(C)),” Mr Omerikwa said.

He added that the crackdown would serve as a reminder to all community members of their responsibility to promote the safe growth and well-being of children. He said the Alcoholic Beverages Control Act 2010 imposes criminal penalties on anyone found distributing alcoholic beverages in prohibited areas.

“It serves as a reminder to all community stakeholders of their role in promoting the safe development and well-being of our children,” he said.

Anyone found in contravention of the directive will be liable to the penalties outlined in the Act, which include a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

Last week, Nacada ordered the removal of billboards advertising alcoholic beverages near learning institutions across the country, saying their existence violated existing laws that prohibit misleading or deceptive advertising of alcohol.

Nacada said exposure to such advertising has been linked to an increased likelihood of alcohol use among youth.

“This is observed despite the fact that the law prohibits advertising that is misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about the characteristics, health effects, health hazards or social effects of the alcoholic beverage,” Nacada said.

The agency urged advertising agencies and companies to act responsibly by not placing such advertisements near educational institutions.

The latest orders also come just days after the Nyandarua High Court opened the door for bar owners, manufacturers and distributors to seek damages for the closure of their businesses and the seizure of their assets.

Judge Charles Kariuki said those who had suffered losses as a result of the Interior Ministry’s unconstitutional actions could sue for special and general damages.

The court ordered the Ministry of Interior and National Administration and the Nyandarua County Commissioner to pay the costs of the application filed by the bar owners.

Other respondents included the Attorney General and the Nyandarua County Government in Constitutional Petition E002 of 2024, filed on 13 March 2024.

The petitioners, the Nyandarua Bar Owners, sought an injunction against the ministerial directive requiring the closure of bars near residential areas and schools.

According to Interior CS Kithure Kindiki, 18,650 unlicensed liquor outlets had been closed by 25 March 2024, while 12,150 outlets were operating without licences in 47 districts and 6,500 others that were licensed in contravention of the National Proximity to Learning Institutions Act had also been closed.

The CS said 14 distilleries that produced toxic killer brews had also been closed and their production infrastructure destroyed.

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