UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda says she cannot condemn Local Government Minister Gary Nkombo’s action of destroying Kachasu breweries, but can only condemn him for forcing the brewers to drink their own product.
In a write up, Thursday, Imenda said the only mistake Nkombo made was to carry out the operation himself instead of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) or the Police.
She, however, commended the Minister for apologising to the Kachasu brewing lady, describing it as an act of humility.
“When I was a member of parliament (MP for Luena), I relentlessly and (with the support of fellow MPs from both sides of the House) successfully campaigned for the banning of tujilijili because I saw their negative effect on the youth. That’s why I cannot condemn the Honorable Minister Garry Nkombo’s action of destroying the kachasu breweries. I only condemn him for forcing the brewers to drink their own product but even then, if one is selling a consumable product, they should be the first ones to consume it to demonstrate that it is safe. If it is so bad for the brewer to drink his own brew, why should s/he sell it to other people’s children to consume it and profit from the sale of a harmful product? What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” Imenda said.
“Perhaps the only mistake the Minister made was to carry out the operation himself instead of DEC or the Police. But then, Honorable Garry Nkombo (like the late Michael Sata) is an action oriented man. He is just hyper. The act of apologising to the kachasu brewing family for the high handed manner he executed his operation, is an act of humility on the part of the Minister and should be commended.”
She said illicit brews like Kachasu should be classified as psychotropic substances just like marijuana.
“For us who grew up in the village, there was a practice whereby if you offer someone who is not a member of your family a drink (beer, milk or maheu), you the giver must be the first to sip from it in the presence of the person you are giving as evidence that there’s no poison in it. Elsewhere as in some movies I have watched, when one offers food or drink suspected to be poisoned, they will “force” the offeror to taste it first before the offeree eats or drinks it. Fellow countrymen and women, illicit brews like kachasu, tujilijili, kacipembe etc have destroyed lives of many through mental disorders and illnesses and even death. Such illicit drinks are or should be classified as psychotropic substances just like matokwani or marijuana (cannabis),” she said.
Imenda said justifying an illegal business as a means of livelihood did not hold water.
“The argument of justifying the illegal business as a means of livelihood does not hold water. An illegality is an illegality. If we accept this argument, we may as well permit the trade in marijuana and other psychotropic substances as a means of livelihood, even prostitution, extortion, and other illegalities as justification for livelihood. It is not right. Why can’t they brew safer brews like chibuku (seven days) as a means of livelihood?” asked Imenda.