Bar owners and beer drinkers were perhaps in higher spirits than usual this week after High Court Judge Daniel Musinga ordered the police to stop enforcing the Alcoholic Drinks Act 2010 until he gives a ruling on January 24 as to whether the Act will remain in force or be rescinded.
The original order for the police to hold back was issued on January 14 by Justice Mwera after the Murang’a Bar owners Association challenged the law saying it was, ‘draconian and has led to arbitrary arrest of patrons and staff’ (The Star, January 19).
The bar owners may be happier as a result but it would appear the good women of Murang’a County are not. On Tuesday, led by Murang’a County Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson, Mrs Jacinta Ng’anga, local women marched on the district headquarters calling on the Government to regulate access to and consumption of alcohol and to enforce the Act.
“While they [the new laws] were in force”, Mrs Ng’anga is reported to have said, “our husbands had returned to our beds from the bars and were fulfilling their matrimonial obligations. Now they have gone back to the bars”. The thoughts of Mr Ng’anga were not recorded.
District Commissioner George Natembeya stated that in the last week 17 people had been prosecuted and convicted under the new laws. “All of them have been fined a total of Sh250,000 and those who defaulted have been sent to jail”, he declared. (The Nation)
So the police have obviously been diligent in Murang’a and The Forum has heard that they have been active elsewhere enforcing the Act in their own inimitable style.
Last weekend the police were being very diligent in a way we are more accustomed to. They were out in force collaring drinkers and bar owners caught drinking or serving alcohol a minute before 5pm or after 11pm. 5,000 bob was the fee to let you go. If refused the fee demanded by the local OCS was apparently 10,000 Shillings. And if the matter went to court the price rose to 60,000.
Meanwhile, yesterday morning (Wednesday) the charcoal-black burnt body of a naked man, against which the blood red stump of his severed left arm stood out in grotesque contrast, lay on the edge of the Ngong Road. His right hand, burnt to the bone, was stiffly raised, his head, similarly burnt to the skull, was arched back against the blackened earth, his open mouth recording the last moment of the agony in which he died.
Over an hour after this man had been hacked and burnt to death by a mob that took him for a robber (many of whom were still standing around viewing their handiwork) no police officers were in sight and the cars rolled by.