No bar to be licenced in residential areas, wananchi to decide which bar goes – Waititu.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu.
Governor Ferdinand Waititu has vowed that no bar or alcoholic joint will be licenced to operate within residential areas of Kiambu County.

While speaking in Thika town on Thursday morning, Waititu said that his government had cancelled all licences of the existing bars and all of them were required to re-apply afresh.

The governor reiterated his earlier warning that he was unrelenting in his war against alcoholism and illicit brews stressing that no wines and spirit outlet will be allowed to operate any more.

“There is no relenting in this fight. All bars within Kiambu must remain shut and their owners must reapply for licences afresh. However, we will not licence any outlet that retails wines and spirits. Theirs is a closed chapter,” said the governor.

Waititu pointed out that the powers to decide which bar is to be licenced or not will for now be exercised by the local wananchi and if they decided that no bar should operate within their locality, the county government will have no choice but deny licences to all the applicants in such an area.

“Wanjiku will be the one deciding how many bars should be licenced within a particular area. If the locals say they don’t want any club in their area, we will not give any licence to operate a bar in such an area,” he said.

He added that starting next week, his team will go round every sub-county collecting views from wananchi in regards to the liquor licensing exercise.

“If you want your bar to qualify, start campaigning now and convince your neighbours to allow you get that licence for a bar,” he said.

The governor has been at loggerheads with bar owners in the county who have been accusing him of seeking to drive them out of business despite them being in legitimate beer business.

Last week, bar owners through their umbrella body Kiambu Bar Liquor Association held a demonstration where they stormed the county headquarters accusing the governor of being hell bent on driving them out of business.

Led by their Chairman Richard Kagiri, the bar owners vowed to defy Waititu's order because they were not engaging in illicit brew business.

“We want the governor to know all the genuine bar owners will not follow his order. We are not in any way engaged in illegal business. All our members are in legitimate business and they do not sell illicit brews but legally approved beer,” said Kagiri.

The bar owners accused the governor of using the new law to frustrate legitimate businesses to achieve selfish ends and threatened to move to court to challenge the new law. They told the governor to turn his energies in fighting illicit brews and second generation alcohols in the area instead of  innocent bar owners who in legitimate business.
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