MCA Robert Alai Condemns Violent Incident Involving Journalists at Kettle House Bar and Grill

Nairobi, Kenya – Kileleshwa Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Robert Alai has condemned the recent violent incident at Kettle House Bar and Grill, where several journalists were injured. The altercation occurred as officials targeted the establishment for allowing patrons to smoke shisha, which has been banned in Kenya since 2017.

Alai is calling for an immediate investigation into the matter, expressing concern that the aggression displayed by security personnel and bouncers towards the media practitioners is a direct assault on the freedom of the press and expression. He emphasized the need for a swift and transparent investigation to ensure that such incidents do not recur. The incident resulted in injuries to several journalists and police officers, with some sustaining stab wounds and others experiencing physical assault.

The confrontation occurred when police officers, accompanied by journalists and officials from the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), arrived at the bar to arrest club managers and patrons for allegedly smoking shisha. The club’s bouncers aggressively confronted the journalists, leading to injuries and damages to their equipment. In the ensuing chaos, 21 individuals were arrested and a knife suspected to have been used in the stabbings was recovered.

The Kettle House Bar and Grill has faced previous complaints from neighbors regarding loud music, prompting action during the recent raid against shisha. NACADA Chief Executive Officer Antony Omerikwa and Head of Enforcement Nicholas Kosgei led the operation, which resulted in the arrest of several suspects and the recovery of shisha pots. Offenders in Kenya face fines starting at Ksh 50,000 or a minimum jail term of six months for violating the ban on shisha.

The incident at the Kettle House Bar and Grill has sparked concerns over press freedom and the enforcement of regulations in Kenya. The injured journalists and police officers are currently receiving medical attention, while the call for a thorough investigation into the incident continues.