Minister of Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili says government will consider labeling alcohol as “dangerous” so that anyone who holds a beer understands that the content is harmful.
In an interview, Rev Sumaili said her ministry would work with the Ministry of Local Government to regulate the sale of alcohol in the country.
“You know when you have pillars or traders in alcohol and bar owners who are not following the law, it becomes a problem. Children are not supposed to be allowed in the bar but they allow them and that is really something that we need to deal with. My Ministry will have to work with the Ministry of Local Government to enforce these laws,” Rev Sumaili said.
“We have decided to further deal with those selling alcohol sachets or whatever they are called, we are going to deal with them. Then we may also require those selling alcohol to put on labels indicating that those drinks are dangerous to drink, so that people who buy can see that this thing I am holding in my hand is dangerous.”
She attributed alcohol abuse among youths to unemployment.
“The President in his address to the nation on values and principles emphasised the need to really put programmes in place that will stop young people, the youth and the children from patronising bars or even abuse of drugs and that is a very serious direction from the Head of State,” Rev Sumaili observed.
“But again the thing is that a mind that is not busy, an idle mind is play ground for the devil which means that when somebody is idle and they are not doing anything, they become prone and vulnerable to getting involved in those things, so one of the reasons is that they are not doing anything. This means that we have to get them to do something to get busy and that is where even creation of employment comes in – extra curricula activities like sports, you know, just getting them busy with something.”
Rev Sumaili said elders needed to lead by example in spearheading the campaign against abuse of alcohol by reducing their consumption.
“Older people also need to reduce the drinking of beer so that even as we involve them in discussing issues that are affecting their children, they can also learn something. So this will be an integrated programme where everybody will get involved. In the meantime, we will start by using public media especially community Radio stations to disseminate this information so that we sensitize the young people on the dangers of drug abuse,” she said.
Rev Sumaili called on the church and other stakeholders to come on board and design strategies to end alcohol abuse.
“Even in the communities we need to have places where the youth can go and do something useful other than engaging in bad company which leads to doing those kinds of things that are abusive. There is also need for parents to enforce good relationships with their children at household level because sometimes it’s because of inadequate parental care, guidance and counsel that children end up engaging in such activities. For us as National Guidance, we would like the Church to come in very actively so that they can help us with this. Other stakeholders also need to come on board so that together, we will have something on the plate you know – programmes that we can implement,” said Rev Sumaili.