A move by Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi to disband the county alcohol licensing board has been opposed by its members who have vowed to challenge him in court.
About 10 days ago, the Governor said he decided to dissolve the board in a bid to check the spread of illegal drinking dens.
Wamatangi accused members of the liquor board of approving wines and spirits outlets where alcohol is sold close to learning institutions.
However, the board members dismissed the move as illegal, citing a Kenya Gazette notice issued mid-last year that specifies that the body’s term ends in three years.
According to members of the board, their term ends in 2024 after they were gazetted on May 27, 2021, during former Governor James Nyoro’s tenure.
The group known as ‘Kiambu 60’ led by their chairman James Kariuki, has vowed to seek court intervention to overturn Wamatangi’s decision.
Members claimed the Governor was being pushed by MCAs to dissolve the board so that they can have their cronies appointed.
Earlier, while announcing the move, the Governor had referred to Kimbo area in Juja sub-county where over 50 pubs and wine spirits shops are operating close to two colleges, a thing he said his administration will not allow.
“We must change the way things are done in this county. I am not saying we shall not have bars, but alcohol selling and drinking spots will not be allowed to mushroom all over,” Wamatangi said.
The governor charged that those outlets were also conduits for the sale of illicit brews and drugs to the youth.
“Alcohol will be sold at the legal hours and in the right places and that is what I told the law enforcement agencies during a recent meeting. Our business people must follow the law,” he stated.
Wamatangi said a new alcohol licensing board will soon be put in place and it will incorporate members of the church and ask religious organizations to support the war against alcoholism and other social ills.
“As a county government we are going to have a serious fight against alcoholism and drugs in the region and we are appealing to churches to join us by organizing counseling sessions for the youth who are the target of unscrupulous business persons,” he said.