Editor's Comment

Get rid of tujilijili again

THE illicit spirits known in local parlance as tujilijili are back on the streets. This calls to mind concerns in the past about moral decay among young people.
One does not need to look far from statistics at Chainama Hills Hospital, where last year over 6,000 mental illnesses were alcohol-related.
Young people have been abusing these illegal substances to induce ecstasy and in most instances the consequences have been fatal.
When Government banned tujilijili in 2012 following concerns of their side-effects, there was hope among parents that children would not have easy access to alcohol abuse.
The substances now come in different names like Konyagi, Kiroba and Samson.
A sachet at COMESA market in Lusaka costs K15, while at City and Soweto markets the product costs K14 a sachet. They come in packets containing 20 sachets.
THE sachets contain 30ml of potent alcohol. Samson has 40 percent alcohol content while Konyagi has between 35 to 60 percent alcohol content. Kiroba has 45 percent.
Reports suggest that the products are smuggled into Zambia from Tanzania and Kenya.
It is worrying that huge supplies of the illegal products are still coming into the country from the neighbouring countries.
It is no secret that many youths in Zambia have died after consuming copious amounts of the outlawed alcohol.
This problem has been compounded by another notoriety of drug abuse. Many young people abuse substances like codeine, hashish, marijuana and cocaine.
There is need for Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to redouble efforts to stop the smuggling of foreign spirits in form of tujilijili.
We recognise the efforts ZRA is already making in identifying smuggled goods at some ports of entry, but the agency should also monitor border points more closely, even if this would mean beefing up staff.
The major concern is not so much that revenue is being lost, but more so that lives are being imperilled.
Law enforcement agencies should also revisit the ban and ensure that anyone found selling tujilijili is brought to book.
Local manufacturing companies should be monitored to ensure that they do not produce illegal substances that will end up destroying the moral fibre of the nation.
Parents also need to play their big role to root out alcohol addiction among young people by working with relevant authorities.
It is undeniable that the problem of alcohol and drug abuse starts from homes. Eventually, children graduate into hard-core addicts when they reach adolescent stage.
Alcohol abuse among young people is a threat to the future of the nation as no meaningful development can take place with a degenerate society.
The Church should continue preaching morals to young people in society to ensure that they do not lose their souls to alcohol.
Equally, learning institutions have a key role to play in making sure that children grow up with useful knowledge.
For example, Great North Road Academy has been conducting urine tests on pupils to check for signs of drug abuse among the learners.
According to the school’s proprietor, Rozious Siatwambo, there has been a significant reduction in incidences of drug abuse among learners at the school.
Other schools should emulate this approach to ensure that young people stay away from drug abuse.
One would argue that the spirits sold in sachets are the same as those sold in bottles, but the worry is that
young people are experimenting with them because of their affordability. They can easily hide them in their pockets on their way to school.
Above all, many youths drink tujilijili on empty stomachs and sometimes add other substances which cause their health to deteriorate.
We, therefore, urge the police in conjunction with local authorities to do what is expected of them – confiscate these products, arrest the culprits and help them to reform.

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