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Kirinyaga County okays the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill

Kirinyaga County okays the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

KNA by David Wandeto

The County Assembly of Kirinyaga has passed the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill, 2023.

This comes after MCAs met with Deputy President, Rigathi Gachagua, who proposed the Bills for the ten counties in the Mount Kenya region. Kirinyaga County now becomes the fourth County, in passing the Bill after Nyandarua, Murang’a, Tharaka-Nithi.

The main purpose of the regulations is to provide a framework for the licensing and control of the production, sale, distribution, promotion, and use of alcoholic drinks.

It also caters for the promotion of research, treatment, and rehabilitation for people dependent on alcoholic drinks, in order to reduce and mitigate the negative health, social, and economic impacts and other costs to individuals and communities, resulting from the production, sale, supply, advertising, and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

The Bill also lays the groundwork on how to protect the health of individuals in light of the dangers of the consumption of alcoholic drinks.

Persons under the age of eighteen years will be protected from the negative impact on social development, as a result of exposure to advertisements for alcoholic drinks and preventing their access to alcoholic drinks.

As the Bill eliminates illicit brews, counterfeit adulteration, and substandard alcoholic drinks in the County, it also ensures fairness and ethical business practices.

Any trader selling liquor to children or persons under the age of eighteen, will henceforth serve a jail term not exceeding one year or pay a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or both.

A person who knowingly distributes an alcoholic drink that is adulterated, is liable to a fine not exceeding Sh2 million, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

While those selling adulterated alcoholic drinks, will be charged before the court of law and can be fined a fine not exceeding Sh500,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both. Traders who manufacture, distribute, or sell alcoholic drinks without a license, commit an offense, and they will be convicted for a jail term not less than six months, a fine not exceeding Sh50,000, or both.

The Bill outlaws hawking of alcoholic drinks and those found culpable, will serve a jail term not exceeding one year, a fine not exceeding Sh100,000, or both.

The Bill has also prescribed hefty punishment for those selling alcoholic drinks 300 meters from residential areas, learning institutions, and places of worship.

Those who contravene the aforementioned requirement, will be liable for a fine not exceeding Sh100,000, a jail term not exceeding three years, or both.

On administration, the Bill has recommended the establishment of a Directorate of Alcoholic Drinks Control, which will be headed by a Director, who will be competitively recruited by the County Public Service Board.

The Director, according to the Bill, must possess a bachelor’s degree from a university recognized in Kenya, along with meeting the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution.

The Directorate of Alcoholic Drinks Control, will regulate, issue licenses, co-ordinate the operation of the Committee, undertake research on alcohol-related matters, disseminate findings, and advise the Executive Member on the matter relating to alcohol.

Directorate is also responsible for undertaking public education training, sensitization, and disseminating information on matters relating to alcohol to the public, in order to influence positive social development and a responsible drinking culture.

The Bill has recommended the formation a County Alcoholic Drinks Control Fund Committee, which shall be headed by a Chairperson, who shall be appointed by the Governor and approved by the County Assembly.

The Committee will pool the funds collected from licensing and other activities related to alcohol. Funds will be used to support the regulatory activities of the County and Sub-county Alcoholics Drinks Committees and activities related to the oversight, monitoring, and enforcement of the Act and other relevant laws and regulations governing the production, distribution, and sale of alcoholic drinks.

It will also help promote responsible consumption of alcoholic drinks and mitigate the adverse effects of alcohol abuse on public health, safety, and social welfare. Facilitate research, education, and public awareness programs on alcohol-related issues, including harm reduction strategies and alcohol dependency prevention.

Ward Administrators who were previously not part of the Sub-county Alcoholic Drinks Control Committee, will henceforth be part of the decision-making table at the Sub-county level, where the Sub-county Administrator, will be the Chairperson.

Courtesy; KNA

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