KAMPALA – It appears alcohol consumption has a bearing on the way some Ugandan parliamentarians behave – the reason stakeholders are under intense pressure to come up with tougher restrictions to regulate its sale and intake.
Well – stakeholders – on Tuesday held a meeting under the organisation of the Parliamentary Department of Legislative and Procedural Services – regarding the proposed Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill.
The bill seeks to regulate the manufacture, importation, sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks – providing for the licencing of persons trading in intoxicating drinks and premises.
It also seeks to prohibit the sale of alcohol to specified persons and regulate the promotion and advertisement of intoxicating drinks.
The proposed bill – under clause 12 seeks to regulate the time of sale of alcohol from mid-day to 6:00 am – and stakeholders believe the proposed timeline wasn’t good enough.
“There are mandatory duties that we need to perform as parents. Therefore, 12:00 pm to 6:00 am is not good enough to consume alcohol.
“I am proposing that the time for alcohol consumption should be from 4:00pm to 10.00pm – because at this time some of the working class would have left their workstations,” suggested Pastor Julius Oyet.
But Pastor Joseph Sserwadda of Victory Christian Church Ministries suggested that alcohol shouldn’t be sold or consumed beyond midnight.
“Let us set the time of sale of alcohol from at least 4:00pm and close by midnight. I believe that if somebody has taken a little of alcohol just to make them happy and by midnight they go to bed, then they can wake up by 5:00 am or 6:00 am to get ready for office the next day,” he said.
Isharaza Mwebaze – the chairperson of Addiction, Prevention and Rehabilitation Association of Uganda suggested that the time of sale of alcohol should be restricted to 4:00pm onwards to deter underage drinkers.
“Most of the addicts started using these substances as underage drinkers and this usually happens during working hours. Therefore, drinking hours should be adjusted to 4.00pm onwards when parents are back home and are able to regulate these children,” said Mwebaze.
Dr Hafisa Kasule from World Health Organisation – WHO advised Parliament to consider bench-marking in Kenya, which recently passed the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act that prohibits the sale of alcohol in bars before 2:00pm on weekends and 5:00pm on weekdays. She also proposed a new clause to regulate volumes of alcohol consumed.
Tororo district Woman Representative, Sarah Opendi, was on November 8, granted leave to introduce a private member’s bill – and has since embarked on drafting process – hoping to table for first reading by end of March 2023.
She dispelled public fears that the bill intended to stop the consumption of alcohol.
“The bill does not stop the consumption of alcohol because we do not have the capacity to do that. We want to come up with a bill that is comprehensive enough to deal with the challenges that have been with us for a long time,” she said.
Opendi has since embarked on drafting the bill which she hopes to table for first reading by end of February or early March 2023.
The bill also proposes to prohibit the sale of alcohol in passenger service vehicles as a measure to curb road accidents – suggesting a Ugx4m fine and imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.
The Sarah Opendi bill proposes a Ugx20m fine or 10-year imprisonment for a person who is convicted of selling alcohol outside the stipulated time.