LAST week’s operation by Bulawayo police where they intercepted and seized two truckloads of outlawed alcohol could not have come at a greater time when the country is enjoying the festive season.
What is clear is that the illicit alcohol was meant to be sold to members of the public during the festive period, further deepening the substance abuse problem in the country.
The country is already facing a substance abuse problem with authorities saying 90 percent of patients at Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital’s acute wards are admitted for alcohol and substance abuse with over 2 000 more with the same problem being attended to in the outpatient department each month.
In what could be the city’s biggest bust in recent years, the police also arrested two men suspected to be major players in the underground market.
We encourage the police to conduct more similar operations to permanently cut the supply chain of illicit alcohol mostly sold to the youth.
With schools and universities closed, the suppliers of the illicit alcohol had they not been intercepted by the police, would have plied the young with their poison leading them into disruptive behaviour, alcohol poisoning and even death.
Njengu is a street name for illicit spirits that are produced illegally within and without Zimbabwe, outside of the approved and regulated production process of registered and legitimate manufacturers. The alcohol doesn’t comply with standards that ensure the quality and safety of products.
It is believed that roughly 25 percent of all alcohol consumed around the world is illicit. Drinking it can make one sick or even cause death.
We once again call upon members of the public to assist the police in flushing out suppliers of this poison from their respective areas so that the young and old are protected from these criminals.
Speaking after the bust, the Officer Commanding Bulawayo Central District Chief Superintendent Vusumuzi Nkomo said all the illicit distributors of alcohol are on notice.
“We have arrested two stockists who have been charged with operating without a liquor licence and also selling. Some of the spirits we suspect are produced outside the country and are brought into the country in large quantities to these distributors.
“We want to warn other distributors who are around the city that we are going to be out in full force raiding them. They should stop distributing these illegal products because they are a threat to our communities,” said Chief Supt Nkomo.
He said police are deploying their intelligence teams so that they provide them with real-time data in identifying and arresting the njengu dealers.
Article Source: The Chronicle