Tujilijili has apparently become a Zambian obsession especially among youths who use it as a tranquillising drug to "keep their demons at bay". For the uninitiated, Tujilijili is a strong alcohol sold in a sachet for about K500 per sachet. The alcoholic content is over 40 per cent, equivalent to whiskey and other known spirit brands like Vodka. Some have been calling for the drink to be banned but without clearly explaining how such a ban would work (and financed) or indeed the rationale for a ban. This week, Local Government Minister Nkandu Luo said Government will soon make a comprehensive statement onTujilijili.
To delve deeper into this issue, we asked our readers, whether the drink should be banned or alternative regulation is needed. The following is a selected sample of “properly identified" responses :
Mweemba Mwiinde :
No! They should not be banned. The problem is not the quality of the content but rather the packaging. Naturally, liquor should be packaged in big bottles that command a higher price. If anything becomes too affordable, it becomes a problem. Johnnies is as good or bad a Brandy as any other. I have tried it. Problem is it is affordable to all and it is therefore abuses. Consider the company that makes these Tujilijili pays taxes, employes people that have families to feed and educate. What becomes of them?
Mwila Mpundu :
It should be banned! 10 am people are drunk. How do we expect them to be productive? And just too cheap and accessible that even a 10 year old can easily buy it. I once passed by a promotion in Linda Compound and guess the audience that was there? Kids of not more than 13 year old.
Anthony Chanda Chashi :
Its like brandy! Its like vodka! Why are you not talking about banning brandy and vodka as well ? Tujilijili is meant for people who are 18 years old and above. Do not sell alcohol to kids! Whoever is producing that stuff is business savvy and we must learn from them instead of being emotional and force them to close down their business. Every business wants his product to be accessible to the customers in which case 18 years and above drinkers. Lets move on!
Toshi Ndumba :
The problem is not with the manufacturers. Last time Government tried to ban them, it didn't succeed because they met the requirements of alcohol production. Tujilijili is very different from Kachasu because unlike Kachasu these are distilled spirits. The problem here is with the retailers who tend to sell to persons who are under age. These sachets should be sold in places where it's legal to sale them e.g. bars. Instead of banning them, Government should come up with strict regulations on who and where to distribute them.
Sue Clayton :
There is a Liquor Licensing Act Cap 167. The Councils and provincial administrations need to enforce it. The police need to enforce it. The community needs to demand its enforcement. Leaders need to lead. Government has to have a clear policy and keep on the case through all relevant ministries. Schools and colleges/universities need to include personal and social education in their curricula from grade 1 - HIV education should encompass drinking as a high risk behaviour for example. Community programmes need to be used. A holistic approach is the only solution. Banning sachets will not help - there will always be cheap alcohol, drugs, prostitution, etc.
Tiwone Rhodah Mwale :
The issue here is about income and saving the lives of both the young and old! Most people's lives have been destroyed because Tujilijili. Pupils have lost touch with reality. They even drink in class which makes their behaviour worse. With the so called rights they are untouchable! These are the future. With such trends were do we see our country in 40 years? The laws about alcohol are there but if a people comes to buy, will you have interest in their age or your turnover? Crime has escalated because of the same. Let us be real for once. Do you mean to say if you give jobs to these addicts they will perform as expected? No they wont because they will not adhere to regulations, will come late for work, fight, steal, insult, etc.. For a better Zambia please let them package the beverage in larger quantities. If not let them b banned!
Trevor Mwanamuchende :
The level of alcohol consumption in Zambia is very alarming. It seems people have turned alcohol consumption as a form of employment for the young people and the old alike. People are no longer able to differentiate weekends from workdays. How can the nation be productive if beer is taken as breakfast, lunch and supper? Much more so if there is the so called "portable beer"? Besides, there is no nutritional value in alcohol. Non whatsoever!