In a radical departure from the norm, Kisii County Governor Simba Arati is enforcing a strict no-alcohol policy among his administration, sending a clear message to employees that they must choose between their jobs and their drinking habits.
Known for his personal abstention from alcohol and tobacco, Governor Arati has made a concerted effort to reduce excessive drinking among his staff and the wider Kisii community, citing its destructive impact on families and young people.
The governor’s recent launch of the Bursary Board and Climate Change Committee became a platform for his sobering message. He openly questioned a new committee member’s potential alcohol consumption, only for the individual to assert that he was a non-drinker and that red eyes were simply a natural trait.
As Arati stated, “I am the chairman of the Climate Change Committee; if you do drink, we will meet during meetings. We either choose to work for our people or drink.”
The impact of the governor’s policy has been felt across Kisii County, with fewer employees frequenting local nightclubs and many opting to drink in private instead. County employees are now acutely aware that being caught under the influence could jeopardize their careers.
One senior Administration Department official admitted to abstaining from alcohol for three months due to impromptu meetings with the governor, who reportedly does not tolerate alcohol consumption among his employees.
Even during his tenure as MP for Dagoreti North, Arati’s dedication to sobriety was evident, as he actively discouraged campaign team members from drinking and engaging in immoral behavior.
The governor’s commitment to professionalism extends beyond alcohol, as evidenced by the strict dress code implemented upon his assumption of office. Male staff are required to wear formal attire, while female staff are prohibited from wearing miniskirts or tight clothing.
In keeping with his personal ethos, Arati’s meetings at Gusii Stadium are strictly water-only affairs, while gatherings at his Motonto rural home feature tea and chicken. His deputy, Dr. Robert Monda, a Seventh-day Adventist Church-ordained elder, also abstains from alcohol.
While some employees see the governor’s no-alcohol policy as a blessing in disguise, others are grappling with withdrawal symptoms as they navigate the new sobriety mandate.