Alcohol shouldn’t be used as a campaign tool

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The prevailing alcohol problem in the country has led to many losses and incurred heavy costs
The prevailing alcohol problem in the country has led to many losses and incurred heavy costs

Mr William Ntakuka, the Chair of the East African Alcohol Alliance Policy, has said political camps have turned the current prevailing alcohol problem in the country into a campaign agenda without offering concrete solutions to the issue.

A report by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) reveals that over 6,000 people die annually due to alcoholism while 2.5 million people require rehabilitation.

It has been noted that politicians from across the divide, while on the campaign trail, have been making promises of lifting the long standing ban on traditional illicit liquor, popularly known as ‘changaa‘ and legalizing its brewing and sale.

Ntakuka urged the youth to reject liquor offers dangled by politicians to influence their choice and encouraged them to make conscious choices during this election.

“It has been a major driver of poverty not only due to the money spent on consumption but also because of the huge costs incurred to treat alcohol related diseases,” said Mr Ntakuka.

He also affirmed that the County governments and enforcement agencies will ensure that alcohol regulation guidelines are strictly enforced during this election period.

He warned politicians to desist from the innuendos on liquor unless they are offering concrete solutions on prevention and rehabilitation.

It was noted that the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act was substantially weakened in 2013 with the introduction of devolution as Counties had to develop their own legislations on alcohol control, some have been unable to do so up to date. “Counties have since focused on alcohol licensing not as a regulatory tool but a source of revenue,” he pointed out.