Citizen TV news anchor Trevor Ombija was on Wednesday forced to issue a clarification after a video emerged in which he is opposing the looming closure of his club over accusation of noise pollution.
Ombija’s Samaki Samaki Sea Food and Jazz club is among 43 clubs in Nairobi County facing imminent closure over alleged noise pollution, according to a county government notice.
Nairobi Deputy Governor Njoroge Muchiri on Tuesday met the owners of the 43 affected bars at Ngong Hills Hotel and held a session in which they raised their objections.
It is during that session that Ombija lamented over the inclusion of his club in the list arguing that his establishment should not be closed when only one resident complained.
The journalist argued that for such a closure order to be issued, the county should consider how many complaints have been received from residents, and it should at least reach half.
“I’d like to propose, like the chair has said, when there is a complaint against a bar owner or a restaurant, let us have more than half of the people complaining. If the apartments are 20, 15 of them should show us their lease, signed, and tell us this is the problem,” said Ombija.
He says he had gone to extra lengths to reduce the sound levels at Samaki Samaki and even offered to sound-proof the house of the one resident he says filed a complaint against him.
“This particular neighbour of mine, I even offered to soundproof her house, starting by her room. She said no, it has to be her entire house. Then I said okay, for me to do any soundproofing, I need to get a permit from the county government. Show me your lease and get permission from your landlord so that they are okay with me soundproofing your apartment. She refused,” he said.
He added: “Now what she does, she puts stones outside on the road, which is your property, by the way, as the county government. She puts stones out there because she says many of my customers park right outside her gate and is a security concern.”
The viral video was posted by Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai, who has been pushing for shutting down of clubs for noise pollution, has elicited mixed heated reactions, even as Ombija told Swala Nyeti that one particular woman is behind the complaint after he allegedly denied her a landscaping job at Samaki Samaki.
If you want to see madness in the entertainment industry in this country, see this.— Robert ALAI (@RobertAlai) October 12, 2022
The owner of a noisy entertainment joint in Kileleshwa offering to soundproof homes.
Do we still have people with brains around?
We show you a lease? Sit down fool! pic.twitter.com/dcOVT01EKg
The celebrated news anchor told Swala Nyeti that for soundproofing changes to be done to someone's house, the necessary approvals must be gotten from the county government and the landlord of such a house and must be in agreement with their tenancy lease.
"Only one resident is complaining and she is not even an immediate neighbour, she lives on the opposite side of Samaki Samaki. All others who live right next to our establishment are not complaining as we have worked very hard to control our sound and the music we play is not loud," Ombija said in the interview with our reporter.
Former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi blasted Ombija over his remarks.
“Trevor Ombija, if you are the noisemaker, you shut your mouth. You don’t offer to seal our ears. Noise pollution must be contained,” lawyer Havi said.
Edgar Wabwire, a journalist, came to the defence of Ombija, saying he is a victim of online misinterpretation of his sentiments on the issue at hand.
“The problem on these streets is that when you air your opinion you might think you're right and that KOT will support it. Opinion hufika huku unageuziwa Vibaya sana. Look at what has happened to Nkatha and the intern. Now Trevor Ombija. It is going to be a long field day..”
Nairobi County’s Director of Liquor Licensing Hesbon Angwena, in issuing the closure notice, said residents and members of the general public had raised noise issues with the 43 clubs.
The Nairobi County headed by Governor Johnson Sakaja is expected to announce its next course of action on the 43 affected bar and entertainment joints after the Tuesday meeting.