President Uhuru on March 26, 2021, ordered that all bars be closed until further notice. The ban has left millions of Kenyans who imbibe nursing everlasting hangover.
There is a general belief among Kenyans who consume alcohol – although this is yet to be scientifically proven – that booze tastes good when taken in the company of fellow patrons.
President Uhuru Kenyatta while pronouncing the bad said: “I said that I will not hesitate to re-escalate again if reckless behaviour is widespread, there shall be no sale of alcoholic beverages or drinks in eateries and restaurants across the territory of the Republic of Kenya effective midnight today for the next 30 days.”
A number of Kenyans have had to be inventive – at least to ensure they can still irrigate their throats without necessarily flouting the Covid-19 containment measures put in place since to reduce the spread of the killer virus.
Here are some of the inventive methods.
Drinking on zoom
A number of Kenyans have been drinking on zoom. The zoom link is shared discreetly to only invited members. Of course you buy your own drink – but take it religiously in front of your computer or mobile phone.
“I have done it a few times. It’s fun and safe because you get to drink with friends without necessarily meeting them physically,” Javan Mutua told Mwanahabari.co.ke. As a rule – not one is allowed to not be on camera unless they are going for a bathroom break or if it’s an emergency.
“It gets noisy at times because almost all of us are not muted. It is literally a pub – and some people even pass out in front of the camera,” said Anne Kamau who has attended a cocktail party with men and even women.
She says it’s the new fad.
Inside parked cars
It is not uncommon to find cars parked by the roadsides on a weekend with their doors – and even boots ajar. This is not an entirely new thing in town. You will find ten or even more vehicles parked closely – yet still maintaining social distance. Well it’s a bar – a mobile one.
“I often go for long drives with a group of friends to this spot near Athi River. It’s quiet and has nice parking space. All we do is chill out – and drink in peace. The area has attracted many people who cannot drink at home,” said Gilbert Kiptanui.
Kiptanui said he always tags along he cousin who does not drink to ensure they drive back home safely after the fun. Under the Kenyan laws, it is illegal to drink under the influence with the offence attracting a jail sentence and a fine.
Tom does not like drinking at home because he does not like it when his daughter Stephanie sees him in his drunken state. The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) on July 24, warned Kenyans against drinking at home as it could harm children.
“Drinking at home also undermines the protective home environment for the pupils and students who are staying at home because of the containment measures imposed by Government to check the spread of COVID-19,” said NACADA Chairperson Prof. Mabel Imbuga.
Meanwhile – many Kenyans both the married and single drink at him.
“I don’t have a child so I drink at home with my cat and TV,” Antonine Akinyi who lives in Kileleshwa told this writer although she says it can get a bit boring drinking alone.
“There are moments when I invite my girlfriends to my home for a drink on weekends,” she said. Then there are those Kenyans who like Antonine, hold home parties where they drink and pass time. “I have invited friends over for a drink – and watch a football match. This I do cautiously as slight noise can lead to arrests by the authorities.
Hit and go
This style of drinking is very common among hustlers – people who want to hit a swig of booze and dash back to work. You will find them ‘flocking’ in front of wines and spirits joints where they are served their favourite drink in a tumbler. They don’t have homes to hold flashy home parties – neither do they have internet or even computers to hold zoom drinking parties. They also don’t have cars – and neither do their friends. Most of these people work in the informal businesses as touts, drivers, and curt pullers.