Cabinet approves US$400 penalty for errant liquor outlets; 124 owners arrested for violating licence conditions

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By James Muonwa

THERE is a wanton violation of operating conditions of liquor outlets resulting in the arrest of 124 owners, who face a US$400 fine in future after Cabinet approved a new penalty fee.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet received and considered a report on the National Drug and Substance Abuse Response, presented by Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, on behalf of the Chairperson of the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse in Zimbabwe, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.

Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare, Information Minister Jenfan Muswere said a countrywide joint operation had netted 124 errant bar owners for flouting terms and conditions of the law governing the sale of alcohol.

“Joint operations involving the Liquor Licensing Board and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) were conducted resulting in 724 liquor premises being inspected, out of which 124 outlet owners were arrested for violating licence conditions.

“Cabinet also approved the upward review of the fine from Level 5 of US$30 to Level 7 which is US$400 or the ZIG (Zimbabwe Gold) equivalent or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years,” said Muswere.

Several drug bases were also busted resulting in arrests, with Manicaland province accounting for the highest number of ‘drug lords’ nabbed.

“The fight against the scourge of drug and substance abuse is continuing across all provinces of the country. Monitoring, surveillance and law enforcement activities continue with a total of 2 373 individuals having been arrested while 48 bases were identified, raided and destroyed in six provinces, namely: Harare (10), Manicaland (25), Mashonaland Central (6), Matabeleland North (3), Mashonaland West (2) and Midlands (2),” he said.

Muswere noted that crystal meth has been designated as a dangerous drug.

It was heard during the briefing that a total of 25 792 youths were sensitised on anti-drug and substance abuse-related matters in Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland North and Manicaland provinces, while in the education sector, a total of 569 969 learners were sensitised through special assemblies, in collaboration with the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU), guidance and counselling interactive sessions, sporting activities and peer education.

He said it is pleasing to note that some religious organisations have embraced the fight against drug and substance abuse through campaigns encouraging particularly the youths to live drug-free lives.