Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has told all county administrators in Mount Kenya region to start enforcing a one bar per town directive he issued a week ago, adding that all entertainment joints must only operate from 5pm to 11pm.
The agitated DP, who was speaking Thursday at Ihura stadium in Murang’a town, also directed county governments from the region not to renew bar licences when they expire, arguing that they are the reason many Mount Kenya youth are perishing from drug and alcohol abuse.
"All county governments in Mount Kenya region must reduce and revoke licences issued to bars and restaurants because they are the ones destroying the lives of our young generation...It is sad that bars in this region are more than shops. I must tell the truth because the situation in our towns and villages is wanting," he said.
"Governors have been busy collecting fees to construct roads at the grassroots. But who will use those roads if our people are dying every day?” he wondered.
Mr Gachagua then directed all National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) and the police to begin a crackdown on entertainment joints that have been operating on a 24-hour basis.
"We have directed all administration officers and the police to assist in fighting illicit brews and drugs. I want to categorically state here in Murang’a that we will not accept our children to continue perishing from illicit brew yet there are chiefs, assistant chiefs, county commissioners and the police. I will not tolerate any officer who does not help the fight against drugs and illicit brew," he added.
He also blamed the government of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta for using the administration officers to popularise Azimio in the region "instead of taming the entertainment sector".
“Our generation is at the verge of extinction if we do not act. I respectfully and humbly request all county commissioners and police commanders to work tirelessly to save them. Otherwise, we have a big problem as a community,” he said.
Maragua MP Mary Wamaua, who was present at the function, agreed with the DP and urged governors to partner with administration officers and form committees that will vet all bars and restaurants so as to ensure that only eligible ones are issued with operating licences.
“If you go to these towns, you will find heavily drunk youths and their parents sleeping in trenches from morning to evening. As our Mount Kenya kingpin, we are requesting you to leave a legacy by eradicating illicit brew and drugs from this region. We will fully support you,” Ms Wamaua said.
She also urged all Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) from Mount Kenya region to formulate laws that will regulate the operations of drinking dens.
“We need rigid laws that will ensure they are vetted before being licenced to operate. Majority of those joints have been allowed to operate 24 hours yet their licences were issued through the back door. Governors must revoke these licences and the process must be thorough,” the MP said.
Murang’a Women Representative Betty Maina and Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro also assured the DP of their support.
“We will regret in future if we allow our generation to perish. It is time to act. That is why I am requesting that all leaders join DP Gachagua in this fight,” Mr Munyoro said.