Chiefs back ban of alcohol sachet

Chiefs in Chitipa District have said they are totally in support of government decision to ban of highly potent spirits  sold in sachets.

Chief Mwenewenya said the prerogative by government to do away with alcohol miniature sachets. is a move in the right direction which has to be supported by all rightful and patriotic Malawians.

“The wild availability of this type of beer was a big threat to moral values because the youth, who constitutes a bigger population in the society and proudly touted as future leaders, were increasingly becoming worst victims,” the Chief told official Malawi News Agency (Mana).

Mwenewenya said spirit alcohol packaged in sachets and small plastic bottles was abnormally too cheap to the extent that the youths, some without a smallest source of income did not have to make an effort to access the beer.

He blamed bigger degree of misconduct, mediocrity and moral decay among the youths currently characterising some sections of the society on the availability of the sachet spirits.

In some areas in Chitipa, many youths are drunk barely before midday and become a menace to the community.

Sexual abuse and other form of violent acts perpetrated by the youths on girls and women were to a larger extent blamed also on uncontrolled consumption of sachet beer.

The ban of the sachets alcohol follows President Joyce Banda’s strong warning to distillers and retailers of spirit sold in sachets and plastic bottles to immediately check wanton and indiscriminate sell and consumption of the beer which had suddenly  found the youths to be their serious customers.

During an adhoc meeting in Ntandire Township in Lilongwe, President Banda expressed shock and anger over rampant cases of rape  and defilement committed by youths and heartless men in the  area, ostensibly when highly charged by spirit beer packed in sachets.

According to police report, in a short space of time, 62 girls and women were raped and defiled in the area which  President Banda and serious gender activists described as hollowing and needing instant intervention.

In a bid address the situation, government in the 2012/2013 financial plan, slapped a 250 percent excise tax on alcohol in sachets and plastic bottles.

Member of parliament for Lilongwe Msozi South (MCP), Vitus Dzoole Mwale said  told Parliament   alcohol in sachets is “totally being abused mainly by the youth to an extent that a young child aged even 10 years nowadays is found taking alcohol in sachets because it is very cheap.”

He said Malawi is “ losing many lives because of the strong alcohol abuse.”

Dzoole Mwale  “strongly recommend to government to ban the sachets.”

Drug Fight Malawi executive director Nelson Zakeyu is also campaigning for the ban of alcohol in satchets , “saying Zambia did it early this year, why not us?”

Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) decided in June 2010 to ban the sale of liquor in plastic bags. The decisions provided that all liquor must be sold in glass bottle and that MBS should define a minimum size of such containers.

The producers were given a six months grace period to phase out the use of plastic containers and to introduce glass bottles.

The grace period ended 17th January this year. However, the ban could not be enforced by the government. One of the distilling companies,  Bwenzi Group which produces the Rider brand of spirits, had obtained a court injunction which restrains the MBS to enforce the ban of sachets on its company.—(Additional reporting by Wanga Gwede, Nyasa Times)

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