Bar owners in Ruiru, Kiambu County have thrown their weight behind government efforts to eradicate the sale of illicit liquor, saying as a result they incur losses amounting to over Ksh 100 million monthly.
The 350 members of Ruiru Sub-county Bar Owners Association said the sale of substandard and illegal brews was rampant in the area and asked enforcement agencies to intensify crackdowns of the same.
They also expressed their objection to plans to reduce the number of pubs in towns, but instead called for the closure of illegal or unlicensed alcohol selling outlets.
Speaking after chairing a routine member's meeting in the town, their Chairman Joseph Kariuki said the second generation alcohol brewers and sellers were running genuine traders out of business and denying the government revenue as they don't pay taxes.
Kariuki said the liquor sector was employing at least 2,000 workers directly and supporting thousands more including the food industry and transportation and therefore the need to protect them from unfair competition.
"As genuine traders in the sector we feel shortchanged by those trading in illicit and harmful substances who also deny the government revenue. We support efforts to eliminate these brews,' said the official.
Besides this, he added, the illegal substances were causing havoc in the community and even leading to death of mostly the young consumers.
"We are right behind the government in the war against manufacture and sale of these drinks which have caused a lot of pain among families. Apart from being pub owners, we are also parents and hence concerned by the unhealthy alcoholic substances being sold," Kariuki stated.
His sentiments were supported by other members including and Elizabeth Wanjiru who said that action must be taken to check the sale of illegal drinks.
Their concerns come as police in the area arrested four suspects when they raided a homestead in Gatong'ora ward and impounded illicit brews and bhang being packaged near a school.
Area sub-county police commander Alex Shikondi said the items were being manufactured and packaged a short distance from Gatong'ora primary school and the newly opened Ruiru Vocational Training College.