Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has taken the government to court for taking over the regulation and licensing of alcoholic drinks from the county.

The governor sued the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) for seeking to take over the licensing, distribution and levying of fees for alcohol importers and exporters within the city, terming it illegal and unconstitutional.

In court documents, the governor argues that it is only city hall which has powers to license importers and exporters of alcoholic drinks through the County’s Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board.

Sonko takes Gov't to court over alcoholic drinks licences

Lawyer George Kithi, who is representing Sonko said what the government is trying to do through Nacada is to abrogate itself the licensing function through illegal means.

City Hall is contesting a notice issued by Nacada on July 7 to importers and exporters of alcoholic drinks to start paying licensing fees to the authority.

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Nacada argues that the importation and exportation of alcoholic drinks is a function of international trade regulated by the national government and should not be left to the county government.

Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta has banned the sale of alcoholic drinks in all restaurants in the country and directed that all bars remain closed indefinitely to slow down the rising rate of COVID-19 transmission.

President Kenyatta said the government had noted with concern that people are socializing without regard to protective behaviour in environments selling alcohol, posing one of the greatest risk factors in the country’s battle against the pandemic.