LIFE! WHAT A JOURNEY with CHARLES CHISALA
THOSE who play with junta shall fall by junta, as one young mother learnt albeit the hard way a couple of weeks ago in Lusaka West.
After the government banned the small sachets of highly potent liquor infamously known as utujilijili, many people sighed with relief that the lives of many youths would be saved.
But the ban did not go well with the companies that had flooded the streets and villages with the killer drink, and they even tried to fight it in the courts of law.
The production and distribution of tujilijili was mega kwacha business.
So the companies, which have now formed a formidable cartel that is ready to take on the government, consulted among themselves and came up with a way of getting round the ban.
In a short time, they started offloading small bottles the size of an average manâ€™s palm to replace utujilijili.
The bottles are called junta in Lusaka and they have flooded streets, markets, bus stations and makeshift shops (tuntemba).
Junta has proved to be even more destructive than its predecessor.
It is abused openly by mostly youths because it is cheap and highly potent.
Anyone who has seen the pathetic state of those who have been abusing junta is fully aware of what it is capable of doing to a personâ€™s health and reputation.
The young mother of three in Lusaka West is believed to have taken to the wicked bottle after she started hanging out with wrong friends.
All efforts by her husband to persuade her to quit the habit were in vain.
While he was away trying to earn an income to enable him to look after her and their children the woman would go to a nearby trading centre which is dominated by bars.
She would join men and other women in drinking an assortment of liquor from chibuku to junta.
Her husband has since picked up whatever he could take and left the alcohol-loving woman and the children to seek peace and respect elsewhere.
But a couple of weeks ago, she learnt that junta shows no mercy to those who abuse it.
It was late in the afternoon when she had a memorable clash with junta.
As usual, she had gone to the same place and joined the same group, which plied her with generous quantities of liquor.
Eye-witnesses said the male patrons, including boys, had a field day â€˜samplingâ€™ the inebriated woman.
In fact, one of them narrated that when they got tired, they started inviting strangers to also take their bite of her physical endowment.
She caused such a spectacle that she is still a favourite topic among residents, especially women.
The whole neighbourhood reverberated with commotion as she was carted home on a modified wheelbarrow (Zamcab).
A large crowd of children was following the Zamcab, shouting and laughing.
The woman was in such a stupor that she was not even aware of what was happening to her and the huge embarrassment she was making of herself.
â€œBazinyela, bazinyela [she has defecated on herself],â€they were shouting as a swarm of the green toilet flies escorted her.
Everyone could see that the woman had soiled herself. What a shameful scene it was!
As the hired Zamcab man navigated the wheelbarrow through the rocky road, the womanâ€™s head and arms were hanging like those of a dead body.
Some of the children were pinching their little noses.
â€œKoma vinunka; bakulu bonse aba kuzinyela [the faeces are stinking indeed, how could a person of her age do this to herself]?â€ the children were saying while spitting on the ground.
The Zamcab dumped the drunkard at the door-step of her house as more children and adults gathered to have a glimpse of the spectacle.
He children were too young to drag her inside the two-room house, and no neighbour was willing to come anywhere near the smelly mess.
Some told me a Good Samaritan poured a bucketful of cold water on her around 20:00 hours, which helped her regain a quarter of her senses.
At least she managed to crawl into the house.
Two days later, the woman tried to cover part of her shame by accusing her drinking mates of putting something in the junta she had been drinking, which must have caused her to lose the ability to control her bowels.
â€œThey must have put something in the drink. It had never happened to me before,â€ she sheepishly explained when an old woman rebuked her for being such a disgrace to women.
Those who had condemned her husband for abandoning his family have now changed their minds, blaming her for the desertion.
For some reason, the junta seems to knock out women faster than their male counterparts.
I am begging you, my sisters and mothers, to keep away from that evil drink. It will ruin you and reduce you to a talking cabbage.
LIFE! WHAT A JOURNEY with CHARLES CHISALA