To begin with, the chief government spokesperson should have included herself and say “we the Zambian women are the worst drunkards in the world”, because we believe that she personally takes up a considerably high volume of all the alcohol consumed in this country.
But fair enough, she is the minister and we can’t lecture her on how to make public announcements. It’s just that we found it ironic that the Honourable was excluding herself from the horrifying statistics. For example, wouldn’t it be weird if President Edgar Lungu introduced punitive measures for men who can’t dance, and say nothing about himself?
But come to think of it, perhaps there isn’t a more knowledgeable person to tell us about the drunkenness of women in Zambia, than the member of parliament for Petauke; anakazi ngao ngao who can handle spirits with the alcohol percentage equal to Kaunda’s age.
On a serious note, Honourable Siliya made very thought provoking revelation from Cabinet on Wednesday as she announced government plans to regulate alcohol consumption in the country.
“Cabinet approved implementation of the national alcohol policy, particularly that alcohol intake beyond recommended levels puts people more at risk of consequences associated with alcohol like developing cancers, causing accidents, gender based violence, mental illness and low birth weight in children born from drinking mothers,” said Honourable Siliya.
“Worse still for Zambia, a survey has shown that Zambian women are the biggest consumers of alcohol in the world and this is a very big challenge for government. Evidence suggests that 42 percent of Zambian women drink excessively. This Alcohol policy is a campaign for self regulation and abstinence from alcohol in order to avoid AIDS, promiscuity, accident, being broke and losing jobs.”
Now, when we look at the composition of President Lungu’s Cabinet and examine each minister’s relationship with beer, we find it really funny that these men and women collectively agreed on this alcohol policy with a clear conscience. But considering that Cabinet meetings are held on Mondays, one would be tempted to imagine that perhaps a majority of them were still hangover from the weekend when voting on this policy, because it doesn’t make sense.
If these ministers were sober, at least one of them would have stood up to pump some sense it the rest of them and say that excessive beer drinking is not the root cause of job loses in Zambia; it is not the root cause of poverty; it is not the root cause of being broke.
The real problem that has devastated our society is corruption, theft, abuse of office, smuggling of natural resources and most importantly, selfishness. These are the real problems that President Lungu’s Cabinet must be talking about.
Our ministers have stolen enough; they have depressed our people into alcohol abuse; and now they are coming back to regulate the consumption of alcohol when they don’t want anyone to regulate their theft of public resources.
Before talking about consequences of excessive drinking, these ministers should reflect on their lives and examine the factors that lead to alcohol abuse among our women. This is exactly what NAREP’s Elias Chipimo talks about in his 20 per cent generation proposal. Give 20 per cent of all government contracts/opportunities to the youth and women, and your problem is solved.
So before madam Siliya opens her mouth to condemn our unemployed mothers and sisters whose only recreation activity is beer drinking and sex, can she explain how many jobs her government has set aside, specifically for the women in this country?
In fact, what we know about sober leaders is that they don’t create rules that they themselves can’t obey. Who, in President Lungu’s Cabinet, would agree to cut their alcohol consumption for any cause?
These people have been preaching austerity measures to the citizens, urging us to die a little while they live large. Yes, alcohol abuse is real in our communities, not only among women; but we would expect the Church to step in and spearhead a campaign against the vice. Not the shameless hypocrites in Cabinet.
We picture Honourable Siliya, Kampamba Mulenga, Magaret Mwanakatwe and Jean Kapata telling the women in Zambia to abstain from alcohol. That is really funny in our view because if they were ordinary citizens, traffic police wouldn’t need a breathalyzer to measure their alcohol consumption, but a rain gauge.