By NYABOGA KIAGE
There was a time when the infamous ‘Mututho Law’ strictly restricted daily drinking hours in Kenya to a mere 6 hours between 5pm and 11pm.
Long gone are those days in most Nairobi neighborhoods where pubs and drinking joints have since taken to flouting the law on hours operation with impunity.
In places such as Githurai 45, Roysambu, Mathare and Kahawa drunkenness and other delinquencies, such as crime and prostitution, go hand in hand.
In most of these neighborhoods it’s an open secret that law enforcers are notorious for taking bribes to permit pub owners to illegally extend their business hours.
Under this arrangement its common to find patrons locked up inside the bars enjoying their drinks long before the opening hours and late into the night.
In Githurai 45, frustrated residents now feel that its high time the Kiambu and Nairobi county governments to clampdown these unscrupulous business owners.
“I fail to understand whether the alcohol licensing departments of Kiambu and Nairobi are working. Most of our youth have completely disappeared in those pubs,” area resident Hillary Kimani said.
His views were shared by Humphrey Njenga who said that the pubs have greatly contributed to the surge in crime in the area.
Of concern also are the numerous wines and spirits outlets within the estates which are licensed to sell alcohol but have ventured into hosting patrons within their confined spaces.
“I thought that they are only allowed to sell drinks to customers who buy and leave,” wondered Mr Njenga.
An operator, who spoke to Nairobi News on condition of anonymity, owned up to the fact that they pay police officers bribes on a daily basis so as to operate beyond the stipulated business hours.
“The police will always collect their share and let us go on with business. They have no problem as long as you get them their share,” said the operator.