, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) Authority has maintained that the controversial Alcoholic Drinks Control Act is still in force despite Friday’s suspension of the law by the High Court.
The Authority’s Acting National Coordinator Aggrey Busena said they have not been served with any orders to the effect that the law has been put on hold and as such would continue to enforce the rules that restrict alcohol consumption to certain hours.
“Until we are advised otherwise, the law still stands and anybody found drinking outside those regulated hours will be arrested and prosecuted,” Mr Busena warned.
High Court Judge John Mwera on Friday suspended the controversial Act until Tuesday next week when the case will be heard and determined.
Murang’a bar owners went to court last week to challenge the law; commonly known as “Mututho rules” and which came into force on December 17 last year terming it as ‘draconian’ and one that was affecting their businesses through lost sales.
NACADA Chairman Dr Frank Njenga however defended the law against accusations that it is draconian and discriminatory saying it has 14 categories of licenses that bar owners can choose from and decided the hours they would like to operate in.
“For example, if one decides that he wants to make a living out of a night club, they can come to us and we will give them a license that allows them to sell alcohol from 7pm to 3am,” he said.
“If you think that the food business is what you want to do, we will give you a license as long as the license that you hold is called a restaurant, nobody will touch you,” said Dr Njenga.
Clients and bar owners have been reporting that police are harassing them but the Authority maintained that it has trained all the Provincial Commissioners and Provincial Police officers on the provisions of the Act so that they can be enforce it effectively.
“I will not deny that there are some rogue officers who may wish to take advantage of that to harass people but that is not the intention of the law,” the chairman added.
For those flouting the rules and resisting change, the Authority warned of dire consequences saying they would not relent in the implementation as it was being done for the good of the country.
The officials urged Kenyans to familiarise themselves with the Act which has transitional provisions some of which came to force immediately which others will be implemented in due course.
The two spoke during a press conference to give an update on the national response to the drug trafficking and abuse situation at the coast where they disclosed that the NACADA has trained 36 medical officers in the Coast General Hospital on how to manage the drug addiction cases.
The Authority has in the last few weeks organised rehabilitation centres for youth with drug addiction problem in the province which has been ravaged by abuse of illicit drugs.
A study conducted by the Authority revealed that 1.9 percent and 1.2 percent of the coastal population consume heroine and cocaine respectively.
With the assistance of organisations such as the Kenya Red Cross which has provided medical supplies worth Sh00, 000 and pledged supplies of similar value, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as well as the Agriculture Ministry which has committed to provide food, Dr Njenga hoped that they will be able to effectively treat and rehabilitate the addicts.
While focus is currently on the Coast Province, the Authority plans to go to all parts of the country offering treating, creating awareness about the problem and eventually eradicate the abuse.