Law to curb drinking 48hrs to poll futile – hoteliers

January 3, 2013
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Those who will be found guilty of selling alcohol, during this period will face up to nine months imprisonment,  a fine of Sh50,000 or both/FILE
Those who will be found guilty of selling alcohol, during this period will face up to nine months imprisonment, a fine of Sh50,000 or both/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – Hotel and the tourism industry players have expressed fears of losing billions of shillings if the Alcohol Drinks Control (Amendment) Bill is passed.

The proposed law seeks to amend the Alcohol Drinks Control Act, to among others issues, ensure that there will be no selling or consumption of alcohol at least 48 hours before any General Election or a by-election.

Those who will be found guilty of selling alcohol, during this period will face up to nine months imprisonment, a fine of Sh50,000 or both.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Chief Executive Officer Mike Macharia said this will adversely affect their sales adding the industry players have been left out in giving their recommendations concerning the law.

“Every time we have these kinds of laws they always affect the hotels, clubs and all the licensed joints.
The problem is enforcement. Despite having this law since 2010, that gave time limits of alcohol selling and consumption, we still have people drinking even in the morning,” he told Capital FM Business.

Macharia argues that the law will in no way prevent people from drinking for the two days before elections adding most of the people may even buy the drinks and consume them in their homes.

“In the many cases relating to the post election violence, there is no single one that is related to alcohol consumption. Most of the perpetrators cannot say they were drunk and that is why they hurt their neighbours. Two days without the sale of the alcohol, to us, it is like shutting down the economy for two days,” he said.

The players insist that they should be allowed to come up with their own code of conduct and regulate themselves.

“You can’t say that some Kenyans may not vote because they were too drunk the previous night. Do you want to tell me Kenyans even dragged themselves to register because they were drinking too much and didn’t have time to register?” Macharia posed.

The proposed changes will also see the advertising of alcoholic drinks put under scrutiny by the State through a special committee within the National Agency for Campaign Against Drug Abuse.

However the proposed law relaxes the stipulation contained in the initial law that barred sale of alcohol at least 300 metres from learning institutions.

“This is good and we can say it is a plus to us because most of the hotels and clubs had lost a lot of business for moving to places that were not convenient to their customers and especially the loyal ones,” Macharia said.

The law went through its second reading in Parliament on Wednesday.

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