Home News Blow to Government as Court Rules Gachagua-Led Anti-Alcohol Campaign Illegal

Blow to Government as Court Rules Gachagua-Led Anti-Alcohol Campaign Illegal

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In a significant legal development, the Nyandarua High Court has dealt a blow to the government’s anti-alcohol campaign led by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. The court ruled that the initiative is illegal and opened the door for bar owners, manufacturers, and distributors to seek damages for the closure of their businesses and the impounding of their assets.

The Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua had been spearheading a campaign against the sale and consumption of liquor. However, the court’s recent ruling has cast doubt on the legality of this initiative. The judgment emphasized that the petitioners—bar owners—were entitled to fair administrative action and adequate notice before the closure of their bars. The court ruled in favor of the petitioners, noting that they were legally in business with county permits for 2023.

Judge Charles Kariuki stated that those who suffered losses due to the unconstitutional actions of the Interior Ministry could file lawsuits for special and general damages. Petitioners who have suffered loss and damage because of the unconstitutional implementation of the Interior Cabinet Secretary’s impugned directive can institute lawsuits in court and prove their claims. The court directed the Ministry of Interior and National Administration, along with the County Commissioner of Nyandarua, to cover the costs of the petition filed by the bar owners. Other respondents included the Attorney General and Nyandarua County Government in the Constitutional Petition E002 of 2024, filed on March 13, 2024.

The Nyandarua Bar Owners sought conservatory orders against the ministerial directive that mandated the closure of bars near residential areas and schools. They argued that the directive was discriminatory, violated their rights, and was implemented without due process. Despite their attempts to resolve the dispute amicably, the directive remained in place, threatening their livelihoods. The traders raised concerns that the continued implementation of the directive would lead to the collapse of businesses and adversely affect about 500 business owners and their dependents.

In response, the government justified the action by citing numerous deaths caused by illicit alcohol consumption. The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior and National Government Administration, issued directives on measures to curb illicit brews. However, the court found that the implementation of these directives was unconstitutional and disproportionately affected legitimate businesses.

The court’s ruling has far-reaching implications for the government’s efforts to regulate alcohol sales and consumption. It highlights the importance of adhering to due process and ensuring that administrative actions do not infringe upon citizens’ rights. Bar owners, manufacturers, and distributors now have legal recourse to seek compensation for the losses they incurred during the closure of their businesses. The ruling serves as a reminder that even well-intentioned campaigns must operate within the bounds of the law.

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