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It’s a sober ruling on bars

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A High Court ruling prohibiting the sale of alcohol near schools and within residential neighbourhoods could not have come at a better time.

While passing the verdict in a case in which a group of residents had sued Nairobi City County for allowing a trader to sell alcohol within their estate, the judge said schools are places for learning and nurturing morals, while residential areas are places where families seek deserved peace and rest after a long day out at work.

He also rightly observed that it is difficult to control the behaviour of drunks within a residential estate, a situation that not only breaches other people’s right to privacy, but also exposes them and their children to danger.

What baffles many is that it had to take the court to declare that alcohol business in residential estates or near schools is inappropriate and illegal.

It is no doubt an indictment of City Hall, the very authority that is supposed to enforce by-laws that ensure order and peace prevail and that liquor is sold only in designated places, but which decided to license such a business.

Without doubt, it is this kind of nonchalance and laxity on the part of City Hall that has seen drinking dens mushroom all over the city, with the residential estates bearing the brunt of the error of judgment.

Besides the unpredictable drunks loitering around, the residents and schools have to contend with noise from some of the alcohol dens that play loud music to their patrons.

With the court having laid out the law on the matter, the ball is now in the court of City Hall and its enforcement section to ensure the directive is complied with and city residents whose taxes sustain it, enjoy their peace and tranquillity in a safe environment.