By Patricia Mtungila, MEC Stringer
It is reported that every month, at least, one life is lost due to excessive drinking of dangerous local spirits at illegally structure bars in Nkhorongo/Luphaso Ward in the outskirts of Mzuzu City and that has prompted Group Village Headman Longwe to ask for provision of tangible solutions to the challenges posed by the booming of illegal bars in the area that had led to the alcohol abuse.
This was Longwe’s contribution at the first political debate for aspiring ward councilors organized by the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust held at Nkhorongo CDSS on Wednesday.
The debate was participated by Samuel Kamzimu Gondwe of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Rapheal Harold Mhango of Democratic People’s Congress (DEPECO), James Marshall Chilanga of United Transformation Movement (UTM) and Frida Mubisa of People’s Party (PP).
“We are tired of these deaths happening due to alcohol abuse. These spirits are finishing our children. Every month, we are burying someone who has died from consuming the spirits.
“The bars where they are sold are located right next to the residential neighborhood and they also make too much noise for us, night and day,” complained Longwe.
The PP shadow Efrida Mubisa concurred with Longwe, saying much as people could not be stopped from drinking beer, she still promises to lobby for by-laws that should ensure that all bars should operate within designated markets the within a set time-frame.
“We cannot tell people to stop drinking beer. But they must stop drinking these spirits, especially during early parts of the day. There are indeed too many people that we are burying due to these spirits here in Nkhorongo, several of whom die young.
“So, all the bars should be moved to the markets and people should only be drinking from there and during the night,” Mubisa said.
Outgoing councilor, Samuel Kamzimu Gondwe also pledged to flush out out the illegal bars where these illegal spirits are sold once voted in as councilor.
“We will work with community policing agents to ensure that the new by-laws are implemented so that drinking of these spirits is controlled,” he said.
Beer drinking in general remains a contentious issue in Mzimba District where the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP and the Ngoni dynasty often trade barbs for the Church’s stance that Ngoni chiefs and other members of the Ngoni tribe who are members of the church should not be drinking beer or promoting beer drinking.
Meanwhile, at the debate that NICE Trust facilitated, saw the four participating candidates signing social contracts aimed at ensuring that the councilors adhere to their promises when elected.
The political debate is part of a series of 21 activities being organized by NICE Trust and other electoral stakeholders in Mzuzu City and Mzimba North aimed at promoting unity and tolerance among Malawians and to offer the electorate a chance to assess the would-be political leaders before the polling day on May 21.
The next debate is slated for Friday at New Jerusalem School in Chibanja Ward where seven shadow councilors are expected to face each other.