Livingstone – City of drunkards and under-age drunks
by mazuba mwiinga

In February 26, 2006 The Post editorial branded Zambia a nation of drunkards; and I couldn’t agree more with them; the nation is degenerating into a generation of citizens who can’t do without alcohol.

Come think of it, a sad wrinkled face of a young but old-looking generation is day in and day out being re-born into liquor slaves. Worst still, under age patrons are increasing by the hour. In Livingstone, the trend is becoming an eye-sore. With the Tourism and Commercial Show kicking off this Friday, July 15, 2011, I can already feel my blood shack my veins with worry.

Numerous reasons have been given as to why more and more people are dating alcohol by a second and yet the poverty rate is so high. In Livingstone, beer is paging at an average price of Seven Thousand Kwacha per 375mls bottle yet no bar patron considers this an abnormal price especially that they can spend as much money as a million kwacha in three days just on alcohol per person.

The city bit by bit is becoming a capital of liquor consumption. Shockingly so, law enforcers ignore many breaches that have been committed by bar, restaurant and hotel owners. Take for instance on restaurants. CAP 167 of the Laws of Zambia (Liquor Licensing Act) section 10 states that; “A restaurant licence shall authorise the sale, on the licensed premises, of intoxicating liquor in any quantity to any person taking a meal in such premises at any hour of the day or night if such liquor is consumed at such meal”.

This means that a restaurant can only sale alcohol to a person having a meal, but the trend is bogus as restaurants have become bars making it easier even for under age children have access to such places because the law does not prohibit them to enter restaurants. One can walk into a restaurant, buy a bottle of liquor, seat there and imbibe without ordering any meal.

This has become a common trend in the city to the extent where these restaurants have become sort of Night Clubs where patrons squeeze themselves to dance round tables. Bars open as early as 06:00hrs and close as late as 03:00hrs yet the Liquor Licence Act CAP 167 of the Laws of Zambia, Section 7 (2) states that “Intoxicating liquor may only be sold under a bar licence between the hours of ten o'clock in the morning and half-past ten o'clock in the evening.”

Annoyingly some of the owners of these places are councillors, local authority personnel and senior Police officers. How disgusting!! No one cares who drinks their alcohol as long as it is paid for. Young girls have found themselves in very an unstable situations after getting drunk, situations which have gone as far as committing crimes and exposed to having un protected sex and sexually abused by older patrons.

How then can we reduce the high rate of HIV infection the city has been associated with? Day in and day out all we hear from councils meetings are power struggle wrangles instead of service provision for the people of Livingstone.

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