The national government is this week set to crackdown on bars and night clubs in Nairobi that are located near schools and residential areas due to noise pollution.
A similar attempt last year by Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja failed after it became a political hot potato. This is after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua waded in claiming that the crackdown was mainly going to affect entrepreneurs from central Kenya.
While calling for a consideration, Gachagua said such a ban would kill businesses which belong to the Agikuyu community.
“The same county government that is closing bars today is the same one that issued them with licenses… Sakaja should call for a consultative meeting where they will agree on how to install soundproof in their clubs,” he said.
Since Sakaja appears to have failed in his bid to reign in on the entertainment sector, the national government has now taken up the challange.
Nairobi Regional Commisioner Katee Mwanza has ordered all Deputy County Commissioners to prepare list of all bars and night clubs for her ahead of the crackdown.
“As you are fully aware, the government stated that no clubs should operate in residential areas or 300 metres near educational institutions,” the Regional Commissioner has said in a letter to her deputies dated August 18, 2023.
“While this has been implemented in some areas, there has been inadequate action in some areas,” she said.
Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya (PERAK), the umbrella body for all night clubs and bars is set to issue a statement on Sunday about the impending crackdown.
Previous attempts to regulate the operation of entertainment joints in residential areas have failed due to legal suits, politics and inaction by the police.
Several estates like Kilimani, Umoja, Donhoolm, Pipeline, Homeland, Thome, Roysambu, Githurai and Kawangware are especially notorious for unregulated and noisy entertainment joints.
In November last year, the National Environment Management Authority shut down 102 noisy night clubs. The decision was however quickly reversed after political intervention.
The joints that were shut down include Quiver Lounge, Loft, Clique Joint, Pioneer Resort, and Bar Next door.
Others are Oyster in Kilimani, Grace House Resort at Yaya Center, Sufra in Westlands, Onix along Ngong Road, Orchid Lounge in Kibra and Tipsy Lounge Dagoretti North.
The Board also cancelled the licence of Edus Bar in Kibra, Kettle House Bara and Grill (Dagoretti North), La Baite in Kibra, Vineyard, Paris and Coco Rico in Roysambu.
The Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya (PERAK) estimates that a nightclubs ban could result in the termination of at least 23,000 full-time and temporary workers earning more than KES 880 million per month.
The association further says 73,600 additional indirect jobs translating to KES 1.6 billion per month of employment income could also be lost.
According to PERAK, at least 800 DJs earning more than KES 40 million per night may also lose their jobs.