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Restaurant owner faults Ruto and Sakaja over crackdown

A Kenyan restaurant owner has penned a letter to President William Ruto and Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja to complain of the ongoing crackdown on nightclubs in residential areas continues.

The restaurant owner who did not give his real name lamented in an advert in the Nation newspaper on how restaurants and food joints have been dragged into the night club drama. “The directive to revoke all the night club licences means I have to close down since most of our diners join us from 7PM to Midnight on Weekdays and up to 2AM on weekdays,” he wrote

The business owner, who signed off the letter calling himself “Your fellow hustler”, says he started off the food business in 2012 operating a “food joint kibanda at Kibera” and then scaled up to an outdoor restaurant in the suburbs of Nairobi in 2019. He explains that he took a Ksh.20 million bank loan using his mother’s only piece of land as security.

The restaurant now employs over 100 people and because most customers come to dine in the evening hours, majority of the staff work night shifts. he says the Covid-19 pandemic hit his business hard as he was forced to close as part of measures placed by government to contain the disease.

With the new restrictions, the business owner says restaurants like his have been caught in the middle of the fight between government and nightclubs.

Restaurants operating in residential areas are issued a similar licence with nightclubs known as a ‘nightclub licence’. With the new regulations in place, businesses whose licences have been revoked, whether nightclubs or restaurants, cannot operate past 10PM.

“If I have to close by 10PM as directed by the Governor, it means my last order of food should be by 8:30PM, to ensure people eat in comfort and leave by 9:30PM. This can only yield 15% of our total sales which cannot sustain even our daily operational costs,” he writes.

Governor Sakaja on November 25 cancelled licences for night clubs operating in residential areas due to increased complaints of noise pollution.

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