Kenya High Court has Suspended Kindiki’s Order On Closure Of Bars

A High Court in Kisumu has intervened in the enforcement of Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kithure Kindiki’s directive regarding the closure of bars as part of the government’s efforts to combat illicit brew in the country.

The court, in a recent ruling, temporarily halted CS Kindiki’s order until a full hearing is conducted to examine the merits of the case.

The ruling stated, “Pending the hearing and determination of the application dated 8th March 2024, the closure directive issued by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government on 6th March 2024, pertaining to all bars in Kenya and Kisumu County, is hereby stayed.”

The Kisumu Bar Owners Association initiated legal action challenging CS Kindiki’s directive, leading to the court’s intervention.

CS Kindiki’s directive, issued on March 6, targeted the closure of bars located in close proximity to residential areas and educational institutions. Additionally, bars owned by civil servants were instructed to cease operations, with the aim of addressing potential conflicts of interest.

In a related development, 114 bars owned by government officials at county and national levels were closed in Kirinyaga County. County Commissioner Hussein Allasow Hussein emphasized that these closures are final, with efforts underway to prevent their reopening, even through transfer to third parties.

“All attempts to transfer ownership to evade closure have been thwarted,” stated the County Commissioner, revealing that these bars are among over 400 establishments shuttered in the ongoing government crackdown on the illicit alcohol trade.

Furthermore, the government has mandated that public officials who own or manage bars must either cease operations or resign from their positions.