The national environmental watchdog on Wednesday raided four clubs in Nairobi over noise pollution, serving them with notices of closure.
The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) inspectors stormed into Kiza Lounge, Space Lounge Bar and Grill, Tavern and B-Club to check on their sound proofing systems after complaints from the public concerning loud music from the clubs.
About 10 Nema inspectors, accompanied by police officers, served the management of the night clubs with closure notices.
The entertainment facilities were immediately closed until they meet the concerns addressed by the authority.
“The authority has received numerous noise complaints from members of the public caused by extreme loud music from your facility that interferes with their comfort, health and safety contrary to the provisions of Environmental Management and Coordination Act CAP 387 and the Noise and Excessive Vibration Pollution Control regulations of 2009,” read the letter dated January 10 and signed by Nema director-general Professor Geoffrey Wahungu.
The raid occurred between 10pm and a few minutes to midnight, with the Nema inspectors ordering the immediate closure of the night clubs until the authority is satisfied that they are compliant with the provisions.
“Ideally, if you have to use a sound amplifying equipment you must have soundproof but there is no evidence of such measures. Therefore, we will serve you with a notice of closure that requires you to close with immediate effect but you can write to us for recourse,” said one of the inspectors leading the raid.
However, drama unfolded at Space Lounge Bar and Grill when the club’s staff refused to receive the order, arguing that it was only the manager who should receive and sign the closure order and not them even after attempts by the Nema team to have one of the staff append his signature on the document.
This forced the inspectors to pin the document on the wall of the facility.
A spot check by the Nation on Thursday established that three of the clubs had complied with the Nema order and were not in operation, except for Space Lounge where operation was going on as usual with the staff and customers going on with their business.
Attempts to reach the management at Space Lounge for a comment was not fruitful.
At Kiza Lounge and Restaurant, the premises was empty of customers.
The club's managing director, Mr Ali Oumarou, confirmed receipt of the closure order and immediate compliance but complained of "witch hunt".
He claimed his facility was compliant as it had a 2.2mm soundproof glass, no windows to let out noise. He said the club had speakers that do not emit sound more than five metres away.
“I can confirm that I signed the document from Nema and my lawyer is already working on our reply to them. That’s all,” said Mr Oumarou.
At B-Club, the premise was under lock, with a big silver chain at the entrance