HONOURABLE Gary Nkombo! Where do we even begin? We get that over the years, you have earned yourself a reputation as a no nonsense, action oriented man. But your recent actions? Forcing a poor helpless woman and her children to drink kachasu? Ummmmm, that is a big NO! You’ve crossed a line which even the former ‘prefect of Lusaka’ Bowman Lusambo never crossed.

As a seasoned parliamentarian, you should be sensitising citizens, especially the weaker people in society, of their rights, not stepping all over them because they don’t know any better. It’s truly heartbreaking to see. Just to put context through an analogy, what you did Honourable minister is like catching a rapist and forcing him to rape his own daughters so that he learns how it feels to rape other people’s daughters. Is that a sensible thing to do?

Granted, Kachasu is illegal and has dangerous levels of alcohol content, but don’t forget that first of all, that is a means of survival for our poor relatives whom society has not provided a better alternative income. Secondly, you have to remember that it’s the buyers who choose to desiccate their organs with that solid brew. No one follows them to their houses to forces them to ingest anything.

The New Dawn administration has been boasting about restoring the rule of law. Your actions alone, in that densely populated area of Garden Compound, has set back any achievements several steps. Have you also become the law within yourself? Was it because you didn’t want to disappoint the camera crew you invited on your expedition, you had to make sure the mtola nkani left with a ‘juicy’ story so that your face was all over the news? Well, you definitely achieved that! But not in the way you thought because now, everyone can see that power has gotten to your head.

If your intention was to demonstrate that the lady can’t even allow her own family to drink what she’s brewing, we’re sure asking her that simple question would have extracted an honest answer. And on that note, let us take this opportunity to ask you a similar question. What is that thing in your life you have done that you wouldn’t want any of your children to know of or repeat? Be honest, because we all have some skeletons, and don’t worry, no one is reading your mind right now. Should someone come into your home and force your children to sample some of your vices? We don’t think so, but that’s practically what you did.

Indeed, you owed that woman, her children and society at large an apology, and we are glad you have rendered it albeit with justifications. In fact, in our view, there must be some consequences for your actions, to show that indeed, your Bally means business on maintaining the rule of law. We cannot have one set of rules for citizens. We can imagine what the UPND would said if Honourable Nkombo’s actions were done by some PF minister in government.

We need to have serious and honest conversations around Kachasu, it’s effects and the people who take it. The truth is that customers are clearly looking for the type of high which you yourself also get after having two shots of your favorite happy juice. The only difference is that they cannot afford what you can afford, period.

These raids and exercises to clamp down on Kachasu brewing are not new. So many ministers have tried in the past but the moment the cameras are off and the minister focuses on something else, it’s business as usual. So why not try something different ba New Dawn? You promised radical thinking and new ideas, demonstrate it! Address the problem, not the symptom. Making the poor people you rule drink their poverty simply an end to thinking capacity.

There’s a market for Kachasu, how can it be legalised? How can the brewing be made safer? How can the alcohol content be regulated? We’re pretty sure those Russian Vodkas and whiskeys didn’t just come to be. They started as a cottage industry somewhere but the only difference is someone encouraged them, promoted them and ensured that they operated within the precincts of the law and adhered to certain standards. With such an approach, who knows? Maybe one day Chicago’s can stock a Zambian Gin.

Lastly, Bembas say “amenso ya bantu yalatelela”, we can just tweak this a little and say “nga wa bikapo nama camera, ni danger”. Don’t be media happy, always think before you act bwana.