Inside the government’s plan to close bars ahead of the polls

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The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) wants all bars and nightlife to be closed on the eve of the August 9 polls.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, July 30, NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Victor Okioma revealed that the agency would move to the Department of the Interior to seek advice on whether the proposal can be implemented.

Okioma explained that the move would help promote peace on election day.

NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Victor Okioma speaks at a past event.

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He further stated that the bar closure proposals had been embraced by several religious leaders and government officials.

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In addition, the CEO revealed that some provinces had taken the step, expressing that national implementation of the proposal would be beneficial for the country.

“Religious leaders and security officers have recommended that the bars be closed on the eve of the elections. Some provinces have taken the initiative.

We will ask the CS to order that all bars and nightlife be closed on the eve of the elections to ensure that there is peace on that day,” he said.

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On the other hand, he warned politicians not to incite youth to disrupt opponents’ demonstrations, noting that many of the youth are arrested during the campaign period.

He claimed that chaos during elections is caused by rowdy young people who are drunk.

“We call on the leaders not to abuse the youth. We ask that they not be used to disrupt demonstrations. That is the commitment we have across the country,” the NACADA chief said.

Okioma’s statement came days after several religious groups and peace stakeholders called on the government to close nightspots, explaining the move would even help improve voter turnout.

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“We will make sure that the ‘mama pima’ outlets will not be operational that day, so we know for sure we are dealing with a sober citizen,” said Stephen Kihara, Uasin Gishu County Commissioner in a previous interview.

The closure of pubs during voting day is not new. In 2017, the Nakuru Bar Owners Association announced the closure of bars in the province for two days to boost attendance.

File photo of Kenyans in a line waiting to vote in an earlier election.

File photo of TBEN in a line waiting to vote in an earlier election.

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