By Eliaser Ndeyanale
SOME in the Swapo party dominated National Council last week Thursday raised a number of hesitations with the liquor amendment Bill imploring fellow members to think twice before the Bill sails through arguing that shebeens are a “lucrative” business in the country.
Discussing a report compiled by the council committee on Public Account and Economy, the MPs said that shebeens were the only source of income for many people and it is from the shebeens where they generate money to send their children to school.
The committee recommended that a grace period of not less than two years be given to relocate all the would be affected shebeens in residential areas including those in close proximity to churches, schools and hospitals.
Despite some members having raised reservations with the recommendations questioning the two years, Swapo Member of Parliament in the National Council John Likando says shebeens are lucrative business in the country.
”For us to be dictated to what the House wants is not correct. This Bill affects a lot of people including members of this House. Recommendations should be passed as they are in the report.
“Even the Gambling Bill has not been passed by this House, why? Because big people are also involved in illegal gambling,” he said.
Lukas Muha from Tondoro constituency asked if the amendment would change the minds of the citizens.
“Are we ready to face the implications?” he asked.
Hilma Nicanor and Ambrosius Kandjii accused their fellow MPs of protecting shebeen owners by saying that a grace period of not less than two years be given to relocate all the would be affected shebeens in residential areas. “We seem to have been protecting those that are selling alcohol. Why the two years? Something is not clear. The proposed two years would not be necessary,” said Nicanor. Another Member of Parliament Shikongo Michael one of the committee members remarked that it was unfair for the committee to recommend something different from what the people said during the public consultation.
Mariental Rural constituency councillor Nico Mungenga urged fellow MPs to think twice before passing the Bill that is supposed to add ‘more teeth’ to the State’s crackdown on alcohol abuse.
“Is it really fair to stop someone’s only source of income? A grace of two years should be allowed to be part of the recommendations. People should be given an area where they should go. We should think twice before we pass this Bill.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015