The New vision of Wednesday of Wednesday 16th June curried story that ‘‘three million Ugandans are Drunkards.’’ For a country struggling to bring down the high levels of poverty such a story is not good news to development advocates.
The story even makes it sadness by indicting that it is actually the poor who consume more alcohol. In periods like these-world cup soccer period, consumption of alcohol increases with celebration.
The reasons why the poor drink more are varied. One of the reasons as stressed in the story is the issue of stress always associated with the failure to provide for their families.
The availability of very cheap locally manufactured brew packed in small and affordable quantities is another reason. The issue of reduced demand for men to earn an income has also attributed to this fact. During the days of graduated tax, men had to earn an income so as to pay.
The government program of universal primary and secondary education also has made some poor household heads to think that they are one free to enjoy the bottle. After all they say the children are already catered for by the government.
Indeed, sometimes alcoholism can be a way of life when it becomes part of the community’s culture. This means that the children will learn or acquire drinking habits form their elder. Bad news with such a trend of things is that it would be hard for government and others concerned to stop such a vice. In some communities for example any marriage ceremonies and other social rituals must be accompanied by alcohol. Of cause alcohol becomes a vice when abused or taken in larger quantities.
Fight Effects of Alcoholism
The consequences of alcoholism among the poor communities are numerous raging from the propagation of higher poverty level, domestic violence and related crime, mistreatment of children and other social evils in our community.
To combat the problem of alcoholism, concerted effort is required. Community leaders need to take center stage to advise those they lead on the consequences of alcoholism.
This means in effect that community leaders need to be good role models – by walking the talk. (Sometimes, the process of electing leaders is influenced by acts of offering abuse to supporters). The government of Uganda also has to incorporate programs towards sensitizing community members given its programs like Universal education. This is because some community members tend to take these programs as a guarantee to enjoy them.
The legislation on all places of alcohol selling liquor needs to be strengthened. As Uganda takes the road towards prosperity for all; it is paramount that alcoholism among the poor is tamed.
By Mark Mwesiga, a Social worker and child activist works with ICOBI Mbarara