Despite government effecting a ban on the sale of sachets in February this year, a Nyasa Times investigation has revealed that they are being sold in abundance in the township of Luwinga in Mzuzu City – less than 200 metres from Luwinga Police Unit.
A tour to the Devil Street, named after Lilongwe’s ‘Devil Street’ on Tuesday, found that such brands of banned sachet liquor as Double Punch and Boss were still easy to get.
Also were cocaine and another drug well known as Cuba. Indian hemp (Chamba) was being sold at a minimum of K50 per ball – for approximately about 0.5g.
Luwinga’s Devil Street is behind renowned Paris Night Club with Bakhresa Grain Milling Company across the street.
With the aide of a regular customer of one of the shops, Nyasa Times reporter managed to buy four Boss sachets at a price of K100 each.
Nyasa Times reporter also managed to get a packet of Cuba at K400, and 5 balls of Chamba at a negotiated price of K150.
The cocaine dealer was out of supply, but promised we would “get the stuff” the next night (Wednesday). He refused to mention his supplier, even after the crew’s spirited persistence.
Before they [liquor sachets] were banned, our aide, who asked for concealment of his identity, said they were being sold at the price of K80 per sachet.
“Since government effected the ban the prices have gone up,” he said.
Perhaps the most ironic part of it all was that just next to the ‘Street’ police officers sat and shared jokes, as if nothing was happening across the street.
“Sometimes they come here to relax themselves. They are very good friends,” said our aide.
According to him, the police officers “simply drink their Chibuku,” and go.
“Of course,” our aide said, “they will ask: ‘do you know that these are illegal?’”
He insisted they were “good friends.”
A police officer Nyasa Times found at Horizon View pub on the same street said “the problem is we have gotten so much used to some of these people. They are like brothers.”
But when he got hints we were journalists, he left – but after revealing his identity and rank. (Nyasa Times will conceal the identity of the officer).
Mzuzu Police Spokesperson Maurice Chapola told Nyasa Times in an interview Thursday that they “were not aware” of what was happening in Luwinga.
On what they were doing since government effected the ban, Chapola said they have been carrying out scores of “impounding exercises.”
He said that they would visit the area sometime since we had “tipped” them.
Cabinet Ministers in Malawi officially banned the production of liquor sachets, ending a standing tension between government and manufacturing companies at the onset of 2015.
Cabinet had implemented the regulations under section 96 of the Liquor Act to govern the production marketing and distribution of liquor.
“The decision by Government will not allow the packaging of liquor in sachets and in quantities lower than the prescribed minimum. This regulation will further be published under section 96 of the Liquor Act as means of enforcing the cabinet decision,” a statement from cabinet had said.
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Kondwani Nankhumwa had hinted the Ministry of Industry and Trade would work in consultation with Ministries of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development Health, Labour and Manpower Development, Youth and Sports.
Other concerned bodies include Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Home Affairs and Internal Security and Malawi Bureau of Standards and Malawi Revenue Authority for compliance enforcement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :