Every month at least one life is lost due to excessive drinking of dangerous local spirits at illegal bars in Nkhorongo /Luphaso Ward in the outskirts of Mzuzu City.
Group Village Headman Longwe of Nkhorongo made the revelation at the first political debate for ward councillors organized by the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE (Trust) held at Nkhorongo CDSS on Wednesday.
Longwe called on the shadow councillors who participated in the debate – 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) – to provide tangible solutions to the challenges caused by the abuse of such alcohol and the booming of the illegal bars in the Area.
“We are tired of these deaths happening due to drinking of spirits. The 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 houses and they also make too much noise for us, night and day,” said Longwe.
Efrida Mubisa, the PP shadow, said although people could not be stopped from drinking beer, she would lobby for by-laws that ensure that all illegal bars operate within designated markets within the set time-frame.
“We cannot tell people to stop drinking beer. But they must stop drinking these spirits, especially during the day. There are indeed too many people that we are burying due to these beers here in Nkhorongo.
“So, all the bars should be moved to the markets and people should only be drinking from there, during the night,” said Mubisa.
And former councillor Samuel Kamzimu Gondwe also pledged to stomp out the illegal bars where the illegal beer is sold, once voted in as councillor.
“We will work with community policing to ensure that the new by-laws are implemented to ensure that drinking of Spirits is controlled,” said Gondwe.
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, NICE facilitated for the four candidates who took part in the debate to sign social contracts aimed at ensuring that the councillors adhere to their promises when elected.
The political debate is part of a series of 21 debates being organized by NICE 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 polling on May 21.
The next debate is slated for Friday at New Jerusalem School in Chibanja Ward where seven shadow councillors are expected to face-off.