Hoteliers demand ‘exclusion zone’ for draconian anti booze election rules

HOTELS AND RESORTS MUST BE EXCLUDED FROM ELECTION NO ALCOHOL RULE

A regular source from Kenya’s hospitality industry has off the record complained that the currently under discussion legislation, to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol between the 02nd and 04th of March, when Kenya is expected to hold the next Presidential and General Election, must specifically exclude tourist resorts, hotels, safari lodges and restaurants, or risk damaging the country’s reputation as a tourist destination.

The Alcoholic Drinks Control Act as it is known should make provisions for the tourism hospitality industry to be exempted from such rules, because they are draconian and limit the holiday experience tourists come to Kenya for. Being faced with a 50.000 Shilling or 100.000 Shilling fine or jail is not making sense but there are elements in our police and other organizations who could take advantage of such things.

We cannot tell tourists who after all made a choice already to come to Kenya during these elections dates, that they cannot have wine with their dinner or a beer at lunch or a cocktail for sundowner? Surely they will laugh at us and tell us where to go? Parliament must be made aware of such issues and not just pronounce a blanket ban. How do we market our beach hotels and safari lodges if we have to overcome not just the election scares but also tell potential visitors of a no booze clause for two days prior elections and election day too? From what I see, if no provisions are made for an exemption the rule will be largely ignored because we cannot deny tourists their wish to have drinks while here, and are then open for prosecution as a hotel and as a client. This would be just plain stupid’ ranted a regular source in a communication overnight,when it became known that the amendement to the 2010 law would likely go into the required third reading before the weekend, leaving almost no time to make representation to the parliamentarians through trade associations and lobby groups.

City hotels with mini bars in the rooms, which include beers, wines and spirits, from where registered guests can access drinks 24 / 7, might also come under the spotlight for potential law violations and may be compelled, according to the same source, to remove all alcoholic drinks over these days or also potentially found in violation of the law. Does that make sense? But then, the law has often been described as an ass and in many cases never did make sense, not here, not elsewhere. Watch this space how this pans out and if either hotels or tourists may be dragged to court in March, away from their dining table or seat of the hotel bar, if found enjoying their ‘shaken, not stirred’ favourite cocktail.

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