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Governor to call shots on when to open bars

Licensing of bars and clubs in the city will soon be under the ambit of Governor Evans Kidero.

Enactment of a new law by Nairobi County Assembly that fasttracks devolution of alcohol control  and licensing is at an advanced stage.

The City government has moved fast to  take up the role now played by the National Authority on the Control of Alcohol Abuse (Nacada).

The  Nairobi County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Bill (2013) is already published and will be one of the main businesses of the Assembly when county reps return from the break.

Sub committees

The Bill seeks to form the County Alcoholic Drinks and Control and Licensing Board and the governor will have immense control over the board by virtue of him appointing at least half of the 10 members.

“The governor will appoint the chairman of the board and four other persons conversant with trade and health matters. They will be joined by  the county director of health, police commander, county commissioner and a representative of a relevant agency. The chief officer of trade will be secretary,” said City Assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele.

The law will also create eight sub county committees. These will be based in Kamukunji, Embakasi, Westlands, Kasarani, Starehe, Lang’ata, Dagoretti and Makadara.

The proposed law is emphatic on bars being not less than 300 metres from any learning institution, something that has been widely disregarded in the city.

The governor will have a stranglehold on the sub counties because he will appoint the chairman and  three other members  and a fourth member appointed by the Executive Committee Member  for Trade.

Others will be area OCPD and area medical officer of health.

The speed with which the new Bill was published indicates that the county government is keen on taking control of the alcohol business at the beginning of the year when new licences are sought and old ones renewed.

The Speaker of the City Assembly Alex ole Magelo said he was optimistic the Bill will move fast.

“We are keen to facilitate devolution. We don’t want to be an impediment to laws that transfer services,” said Mr Magelo.

The Speaker said the Assembly will try to fasttrack enactment of Bills in the coming year.

The Assembly has enacted five laws in the last six months.