The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Independent Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) have extoled government for approving the National Alcohol Policy that will prevent alcohol intake beyond recommended levels.
The two church-mother bodies noted that excessive alcohol consumption was an impediment to national development because of many ills caused by the intoxicating liquor.
EFZ Executive Director Pukuta Mwanza told the Lusaka Star that alcohol consumption has caused a lot of untold misery such as gender based violence (GBV), road accidents and general unproductivity in Zambia.
“That will be an important piece of legislation considering that alcohol does ignite a lot of negative influences on people’s lives,” Reverend Mwanza said.
He has however urged government to consider raising excise duty on liquor so that it becomes expensive for many alcohol traders and consumers.
Rev. Mwanza said government should synchronise the newly introduce national alcohol policy with other pieces of legislation to discourage excessive beer drinking among Zambians.
The EFZ Executive Director noted that encouraging alcohol trading and consumption was inconsistent with the status of Zambia as a Christian nation.
And commenting on the same approval of the policy, ICOZ Board Chairman David Masupa observed that Zambia was economically undeveloped partly because a number of citizens were consuming alcohol excessively at the expense of engaging into productive activities.
Bishop Masupa said ICOZ was happy with Cabinet’s approval of the national alcohol policy adding that this has reinvigorated the enthusiasm of the clergy to intensify the anti-alcohol consumption sermons.
“We want to start a deliberate move within our various churches by encouraging the clergy to devote at least five to ten minutes before the main sermon to talk about the ills of alcohol which are illustrated in the Bible,” he said.
Meanwhile, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president for Zambia, Andrew Ntewewe said youths should realise that alcohol abuse was a hindrance to development and not a solution to their challenges.
Mr. Ntewewe said young people should move away from abusing alcohol and begin to think of economically emancipating Zambia.
He said young people should be patriotic enough to leave a legacy of having economically liberated their country just like former President Kenneth Kaunda and his team left a legacy of politically emancipating the country from its colonisers in 1964.
On Wednesday last week, Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya announced that Cabinet has approved the National Alcohol Policy to further strengthen regulation of beer consumption in Zambia.
“Cabinet approved the National Alcohol Policy to prevent alcohol intake beyond recommended levels which put people at risk of consequences associated with alcohol abuse like developing cancer or being involved in accidents,” said Ms. Siliya, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services.