Court extends order banning alcohol law

January 18, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The High Court has extended an order suspending the Alcoholic Drinks Act until January 24.

Justice Daniel Musinga issued the directive after a hearing between parties in the case filed by the Murang\’a Bar Owners Association, whose members claim that the new law was punitive and had led to massive losses.

However the Attorney General asked the court to lift the order barring the implementation of the law saying the traders had not shown any evidence that they were harassed or their patrons arrested.

"Arrests and harassment claims are not proved and they are just blanket allegations," a senior state counsel told the court.

A number of organisations including the Central Kenya Parliamentary Group and Nakuru County Constitutional Forum have been enjoined in the case and have taken sides with the AG.

Through their lawyers, the MPs caucus said the rules were made for national good and its objectives were meant to help youths against alcohol abuse.

"The rules are not oppressive as claimed. The bar owners can ask for extension of times as stipulated in the rules and one can seek for various licences namely under bars, night clubs or hotels. They have various categories to choose from," the MPs said.

The Murang\’a bar owners went to court last week to challenge the law commonly known as "Mututho rules" and which came into force on November 24 last year terming it as \’draconian\’ and one that was affecting their businesses through lost sales.

On its part the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority washed its hands over the matter claiming that its officers were not part of the implementers.

Justice Musinga will rule whether the barring order should remain in force or if the law will take its course.

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