Home NEWS County News Waiguru orders immediate closure of all bars in Kirinyaga

Waiguru orders immediate closure of all bars in Kirinyaga

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has ordered immediate closure of all liquor outlets in the county following deaths of 17 people after consuming illicit brew.

Waiguru said the County Government has withdrawn all licenses issued to the bars to allow for a fresh vetting.

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Speaking on Saturday during a mass burial ceremony of the 17 illicit brew victims at Kangai Primary School, Waiguru said no alcohol outlet will be allowed to operate in the county until it is vetted and found to be in compliance with liquor licensing regulations.

“I have today ordered the closure of all bars in Kirinyaga to pave way for fresh vetting, those bars that will be found to have been operating without license or had previous cases of selling unauthorized products will not be allowed to open again,” Waiguru said.

The illicit brew that killed and left others blinded at Kangai and Kandongu village is suspected to have been laced with ethanol.

The Council of Governors (COG) chair further called on all law enforcement agencies in enforcing the closure order so as to get rid of illicit brews from towns and villages ravaged by the menace.

“We have put in place tighter liquor outlets registration and inspection mechanism that requires the support of the law enforcement agencies to implement. This has been the missing link,” Waiguru said.

The Governor further asked County Government staff operating liquor outlets to make a choice of venturing into business or retaining their employment.

She said some 11 staff from the County Government were operating bars and therefore were conflicted and a hinderance to the enforcement of the liquor licensing regulations.

Waiguru accused Kirinyaga Bar Owners Association of using courts to frustrate her effort to regulate sale of alcohol.

However, the Governor said she will not be threatened or blackmailed in her effort to stop sale, distribution and manufacture of illicit brews.

“Their remains, infront of us, radiates the full horror of alcoholism and the ferocity of greed among the merchants of death who manufactured and distributed the killer drink, we must not allow this to happen again,” the Governor said.

Saying that no one is safe from illicit brews, Waiguru said unscrupulous traders are packaging third-generation brew into bottles belonging to popular brands and using fake Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) stamps to get their products into the shelves.

“As these families prepare to lay their spouses, children, relatives and friends to rest, the disturbing concern is that illegal trade in ethanol is fast becoming pervasive in the country, fueling the re-opening of backyard alcohol manufacturing facilities that had been shut and a rise in the consumption of illicit brew.

She said her administration will tighten regulatory check on manufacturers, distributors and sellers of alcoholic beverages to avert more deaths in future.

“Sale and distribution of illicit brews does not only deny the government requisite and legitimate traders’ revenue, but also poses a serious health risk to our people. Kirinyaga will be the county that will show an example that we will not tolerate sale of illicit brews and drugs,” she added.

She reminded bar owners that they have a responsibility to protect lives of their patrons and the Kangai and Kandongu deaths should “prick their conscience”.

“They must ensure they are selling products that conform to standards set out by the Kenya Bureau of Standards,” she said.

She said the county has launched campaign dubbed “Fichua Pombe Haramu”, an initiative meant to help eradicate manufacture and sale of illicit brew through sharing of information.

“We have introduced a toll-free line 0800721812 and SMS number 0759674392 that you can use to give us information on suspicious cases of illicit alcohol brewing and sale in your area,” the Governor said.



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