Bar owners in Kirinyaga on Thursday, December 15, appealed to President William Ruto and Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru to allow them to keep their businesses open despite a looming warning affecting their operations.
While conducting a protest in Kirinyaga county, the bar owners argued that they could not afford to pay the accumulated bills amounting to millions.
Waiguru, on Monday, December 12, warned that her administration would close down operations of all bars that defaulted in payment of tax arrears amounting to over Ksh100 million.
“We are hustlers in a hustler country. I am a Kenyan speaking on behalf of other Kenyans, we don't have the money we are being asked to pay “ one of the bar owners lamented.
The bar owners stated that the county government had given the notice to close 3,000 bars in mid - December 2022.
“We have been told that all 3,000 bars are going to be closed (mid-December),” a bar owner stated during the protest.
A section of the protestors, however, demanded that all cases in court concerning the issuing of licenses to bar owners in Kirinyaga be heard before they are ordered to pay their arrears.
“We have a case in court. We respect the high court in Kenya and the law. We have not refused to pay but we will only do so when ordered by the court,” one of the protestors stated.
The Protestors called on the Kirinyanga governor Ann Waiguru for peaceful talks, failure to which they would continue with their demonstrations.
“If she wants to talk, we will talk. If she does not listen we will continue our demonstrations,” one of the bar owners echoed.
The bar owners lamented that they would lose their only source of livelihood for their families.
“We are not experts in other businesses and do not want to start looking for employment elsewhere “ stated the protestors.
Waiguru declared a crackdown on bars operating without paid licenses in Kirinyaga county on Monday, December 12, warning that her administration would close down the operations of all bars that have not complied with the outlined regulations.
The governor explained that the decision was made as a result of the failure of bar owners to pay three years' worth of tax arrears, which had accumulated to more than Ksh100 million.
She claimed that the bar owners' failure to fulfill their obligations resulted in the county government lacking adequate funds to run various county departments.