Elgeyo Marakwet County Governor Wisley Rotich has suspended the licensing of all bars in the region.

Rotich announced that bars across the County will undergo a fresh vetting process, signaling a significant shift in alcohol regulation.

The Governor emphasized the urgency of addressing the County’s alcohol problem, stating, ‘As a County, we are headed on the wrong path and we need to address it urgently before we start burying people as is happening in other parts of the Country.’

He further highlighted the prevalence of second-generation alcohol sales in many bars, stressing the need for immediate intervention to save lives.

The Governor’s announcement coincided with the replacement of the County Alcoholic Drinks Regulations Committees, with a new team inaugurated to oversee the vetting process. Rotich also directed residents to participate in public forums to provide recommendations before new licenses are issued.

‘I want to assure you that we shall enforce your recommendations, especially those concer
ning closure of alcoholic outlets that sell illicit alcohol,’ he vowed.

Keiyo North Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Julius Maiyo echoed the gravity of the alcohol crisis, labeling alcohol addiction as the County’s ‘number one enemy.’

He singled out notorious brands such as Flying Horse, Diamond Ice, African Spear, and Konyagi, which have become prevalent among locals.

Maiyo highlighted a distressing incident involving a bar where patrons were found consuming alcohol while engaging in acts of sodomy. He asserted that swift action had been taken, with the closure of the bar and revocation of its license.

He emphasized the importance of ethical conduct among government officers involved in enforcing alcohol regulations, cautioning against corruption and collusion with bar owners.

The DCC cautioned against prioritizing revenue over-regulation, stressing the need for a holistic approach to tackle the menace effectively.

Maiyo urged against compromises in the fight against alcohol abuse, warning that any for
m of collusion would undermine the progress made.

The duo issued stern warnings to County staff undermining efforts to combat illicit alcohol, emphasizing the consequences for such misconduct.

They emphasized the importance of maintaining integrity and impartiality in the fight against alcohol abuse.

Source: Kenya News Agency

WINDHOEK: Despite a significant change in the public’s access to and consumption of information brought about by digitalisation, public libraries in Namibia continue to be important hubs for knowledge and information.

The advent of digitalisation has dramatically changed the way the public accesses and consumes information. The rapid digitisation of societies has raised questions about the continued relevance of public libraries and whether they still have a place in the modern era.

Despite these, public libraries continue to play an important role in Namibian society amid the digital age and free internet access to information, including books.

This is according to Sarah Negumbo, the Director of the Namibia Library and Archives Service. Negumbo told Nampa in an interview that public libraries remain relevant even in the digital age for many reasons, including free access to a wide range of information resources.

‘The public libraries are continuing to fulfil a significant role by providing free access to
the internet and e-resources, facilitating skills development through ICT training, and assisting with online job applications, particularly in areas where access to electricity is limited, benefiting underserved communities,’ she said.

The Directorate of Namibia Library and Archives Service in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture oversees 66 public libraries in Namibia and Negumbo said they have adapted well to the digitalisation.

Negumbo noted that the advent of the Internet, or digital age, did not diminish the importance of public libraries in Namibia, with 60 of the public libraries offering free internet access and e-resources to their respective communities.

‘Currently, some of the public libraries are already using computerised systems such as Koha and Symphony; these are systems installed to manage libraries’ collections and resources.

Libraries have transformed into dynamic community centres, adapting to the evolving needs of their patrons. They are now offering a range of digital resourc
es, including e-newspapers, e-magazines, free access to social media, basic ICT training, artificial intelligence services, library automation, and open-source software,’ Negumbo explained.

She said the directorate has initiated several innovative programmes to ensure public libraries remain relevant in the digital age.

These include services such as basic and advanced ICT training and graphic design, online job applications, and mobile library services. Public libraries countrywide also offer a range of services to the general public, such as homework assistance for learners and reading activities.

Others include information sharing sessions on agriculture, health, and crafts, as well as entrepreneurial skills development such as sewing, soap making, and bead making.

Negumbo said public libraries also provide career guidance in collaboration with human resources practitioners and professionals.

‘Through literacy and numeracy skills development, the directorate has introduced the Namibia Reads App, an on
line reading application with more than 10 000 e-books and audio-books for young learners between the ages of seven and twelve.

‘These books can be read, or the system can read them to learners. The directorate further introduced the spelling bee competitions, just to instil a culture of reading and participation among the children,’ she said.

For these reasons, Negumbo stated that public libraries are still a good public investment and that they are still essential to the general public.

‘Public libraries in Namibia have undertaken initiatives to alleviate poverty by promoting information and communication technology services within their facilities. This strategy aims to enhance the living conditions of community members and bridge the digital divide. Libraries play a crucial role in advancing global education outcomes by leveraging devices such as cellular phones, tablets, and computers, along with their associated applications and software.

‘By incorporating technology, libraries empower learners to a
ctively participate in a global knowledge economy. This not only enriches their understanding of the world, but also amplifies their voices and strengthens their position as they navigate their roles in the broader global context,’ Negumbo explained.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency