Saturday, June 15, 2024

After much controversy Parliament backs weekend jailing of drunk drivers


Some youth from Mandevu township drinking beer
Some youth from Mandevu township drinking beer

Parliament has thrown out a private member’s motion against weekend imprisonment for drunken driving.
The motion which was brought to the House by United Party for National Development Choma Member of Parliament (MP) Cornelius Mweetwa left opposition MPs divided.

Mr Mweetwa wanted leave to introduce a Private Member’s Bill entitled Road Traffic (Amendment ) Bill 2013, which was against weekend imprisonment for drunken driving.

He said Section 160 of the Road Traffic Act provided for weekend imprisonment for a person found with a case of drunken driving, but that the law had not been implemented in Zambia since 2002 when it was introduced.

Mr Mweetwa said implementing the weekend imprisonment law would only fuel corruption in the country as it would encourage people to bribe authorities instead of serving the sentences.He explained that Zambian prisons were already congested and that there were no separate jails that would be set aside for people found guilty of drink-driving.

He called on Government to instead consider punishing drunken drivers with community service and fines.

Mr Mweetwa’s motion was seconded by MMD Nalikwanda MP, Geoffrey Lungwangwa and his Liuwa counterpart Situmbeko Musokotwane.

But MMD Mumbwa MP Brian Chituwo, amid disapproving gestures from some opposition MPs, said he did not support the motion as millions of Zambians had continued to perish on roads due to drink-driving.

Dr Chituwo said the law was there to protect innocent Zambians.

MMD Mwandi MP Michael Kaingu rose on a point of order asking whether Dr Chituwo was in order to ‘score in his own goal’, but Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini overruled the point of order.

MMD Sinda MP Levy Ngoma commended the Government for introducing the law, saying many accidents in Zambia had arisen from intoxication.

Patriotic Front Roan MP Chishimba Kambwili said weekend imprisonment would go a long way in preventing unnecessary accidents.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has introduced a motion on ways to amend the Value Added Tax Act, Customs and Excise duty to match the changes made in the Budget presented in October this year.

The changes would also see an increase in the cost of airtime in Zambia.

Some opposition MPs including UPND Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu, UPND Kalabo MP Chinga Miyutu, MMD Mafinga MP Catherine Namugala and Dr Chituwo condemned the motion, saying it would work against the poor majority in the country.


  1. Let this be effected, a few years from now some of the beer-men being driven now, will find themselves victim of this draconian law.

  2. Laws made through emotion can not last, nevertheless drinking beer is a bad habit which some one can change easily. Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts. Clean thoughts make clean habits.

  3. Please MPs debate on heating issues facing the well being of citizens like strikes, poor education, poor healthy and above all septic poverty among zambians! dont just sit there mulenyafye ifisushi moreover most of you are dunkards and womanisers and you are the ones who will be in the front to break the same law you are talking about and bribing the police kaili nabo ba police are drunkards! please spare us an agony of those stinking cells on top of our poverty! we discuss prosperity to tackle our poverty with our collegues whilst drinking please leave us in peace bapompwe imwee!

  4. I think that community service would indeed be more productive. Many drunk drivers will get away without being noticed anyway, unless they cause an accident, in which case it would anyway be too late, and those who get caught before an accident wilmost likely get away with a bribe as bus drivers do, so besides this being something that willput more money in policemen’s pockets, might as well get the guys caught to do something productive than give custodial punishment.

    • It’s easy to catch them in UK they wait for culprits outside pubs,public functions and its a very serious offence one may lose the licence,go to prison and pay a heavy fine.In fact on this one PF will create thousand of jobs as those who drink will either hire a taxi or bring driven by a driver.This is how western world create wealth

  5. There is an accident at the railway crossing along Katima mulilo road in Lusaka. A train has hit a track. I hope the drivers were not drunk.

  6. I concur with the gentleman who says the same law makers are the notorious drunkards and womanisers. This law will catch up with the same characters. Weekend imprisonment is not a solution…this will have its own problems that may affect families and the general society at large. Some other form of punishment would have been sought.

    • What can affect a family more than a dead father, mother, uncle, auntie, etc., killed by a drunk-driver?

      You are luck you live in Zambia when it comes to “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) laws. Here in America and most Western countries, it is NOT just on weekends that you get thrown in jail for driving while intoxicated—it is a 24/7 deal! In fact, it is not just alcohol that can earn you a ticket to jail. Certain legal prescription drugs (yes, certain drugs your doctor prescribes, or ‘over the counter’ medications) such as Sleeping pills and certain medicines for a common Cold can get you in trouble. Some of them even carry a warning; “AVOID DRIVING AFTER TAKING THIS MEDICATION!”

      So this law is progressive and very forward looking. It may save your relative’s life!

  7. I concur with the gentleman who says the same law makers are the notorious drunkards and womanisers. This law will catch up with the same characters. Weekend imprisonment is not a solution…this will have its own problems that may affect families and the general society at large. Some other form of punishment would have been sought.

    • Tripoli, if you are arrested on Thursday 28/11/2013, then you report yourself to jail Friday 29/11/2013 at 18:00 hours and you will get out on Sunday 18:00 hours. This you will do for the period stipulated by the fast truck court, e.g. for 3 months every week-end you will be in jail.
      This law is progressive, though it will have its own challenges in terms of people losing jobs if they are serving a sentence and they are suppose to work on Saturdays.

    • They would be locked up over the weeknd, the following Monday they report back to work or the pub as the case may be.

  8. People should bear in mind that it is not only drunken driving that cause accidents. Look at the John Fimo Fimo accident involving the Post Bus. were the drivers under the influence? An accident is simply an unplanned event that may result in an injury, property damage or death in very serious circumstances.

    • @Nthulungu Wengo:

      Please know that “accidents are caused, they simply don’t just happen!”

      So if accidents are caused, it is then important to look at contributing factors to the causes of accidents. And there is NO disputing the fact that driving drunk is definitely high on the list. Of course not all accidents are due to people driving under the influence of alcohol. But plenty of accidents/deaths can be avoided if people DON’T DRINK & DRIVE!

      And driving drunk is a CHOICE that people make, but with far-reaching deadly consequences. Now, if the current prescribed punishments don’t have the desired deterrent effect, Parliament/Govt has a duty to revisit the law and readjust the PUNISHMENT so that it gets people’s attention and in the long run prevent unnecessary deaths.

  9. First offense, community service and suspension of driving license.

    Second offense, weekend lock-up and loss of license.

    Third offense, throw away the key.

  10. Create more jail space. Dont just talk. More than 5000 people drink and drive in Lsk alone over the wkends. Kitchen party patrons, and lots of spoiled brats drink and drive.

  11. This is a great law and all well meaning Zambians should support it.The next law should be to regulate who sells alcohol as we have all sorts of funny places .If you look at Places like Chilenje through to Kabwata its a haven for drinking and it goes unchecked with those clowns getting on the roads in their drunken states.Please lock them up and we should suspend licenses.

    • Drink-driving is bad but then how long does it take for alcohol to leave the body, and how long should one wait after drinking beer before he is safe to drive. Life is too short and has RATSA come up with how much is allowed as normal to drive.

  12. but why show innocent chibuku drunkers in the picture.They dont even use cars ,they just walk.Show the same MPs drinking at Parliament Motel.

  13. The Law makers just need to cross the Zambezi River into Botswana and learn how this humble yet prosperous nation is doing things. They are tough with drunken driving. They even have what they call booze buses. Yes, the challenge in Zambia is endemic corruption where people escape punishment through bribes. Drunken driving just demonstrates personal indiscipline. In Zambia adults even brag about how drunk they were and do not know how they even got home. This mentality is terrible? And do you really expect the country to develop with people who still think in this manner? People even start drinking as early as 8:00 am in the morning. Can such people be productive at the end of the day? At times I tend to think that Zambians are just irresponsible people. Even some fellas in the diaspora…

  14. (Chester continues) At times I tend to think that Zambians are just irresponsible people. Even some fellas in the diaspora spend a lot of time intoxicating themselves. This has to change and it must start with the man in the mirror (yourself). The results of overindulging in alcohol and other intoxicating substances are obvious; reduced productivity; loss of income; family breakdown; poor health and many others.

  15. What about drunken walkin or drunken cycling or even drunken riding,all thiz cause accidents.moreover,hw will they even b knowin dat 1 is drunk?koz wat thiz ratsa chaps do is pack at 7th day corner along chilumbulu rd and whenever they see sum 1 wit a boto enterin the car,they grab the keys and saydrunken drivin.let’s hop they’b mobin wit a doctor

  16. These guys are afraid coz as MP they are terrible drunkards and slaughters. Please this week end set a road block next to parliament motel so that all these talkative MPs are taken to chimbokaila.

    Peace and Prosperity to Mother Zambia

  17. I have no problems with this law except does the law as read by RATSA equal what is on the books? I.e 30 days report oneself every weekend or is it the one weekend unless you are a repeat offender? Just a question

  18. 1. How would RSTA know without doubt that one is drank? i.e can they do breathalyzer and blood tests? 2. Is the weekend in prison a sentence or a detention pending due process? 3. Won’t RSTA just now concentrate on “roadblocks” near watering holes like the bujus do for those looking for ntweno? That where ya ka coca cola will be plentiful kaili.

  19. In some countries even drinking beer outside your house where people can see you is a jailable offence. carrying a bottle of beer in your hand is also jailable. it should be carried in a non transparent carrier bag and drunk in doors.

    The truth is that this world can do without beer or alcohol. it can definately do without drunk drivers!

  20. Beer has been there since the days of the big man Adam. Alcohol is an invaluable ally to man in many situations, like stress, relaxing with friends, parties, ceremonies, celebrations etc. The only societies which have banned alcohol are those of moslem faith. I have never stayed in a moslem country, so I do not know if there are no accidents there. Some time back, people moderated the amount of beer they took. Now you see brothers drinking like they have just won a lottery. Bar tenders those days were under instruction not to sell beer to young persons or someone who is already drunk. Honestly, are we all going to manage to drink from home or hire taxis when out?

  21. in kcm people lost jobs for reportng drunk at work. the solution is to use soda. soda disturbs the breatheriser readings

  22. Those that are opposed to the weekend imprisonment are actually drunkards who are scared of the law to catch up with them. Soon we shall have the police cells filled with opposition members of parliament. In the West, it is criminal to be found driving under the influence an offence that is jailable and leads to the suspension of the convicted driver’s licence for a period of one year. So ba opposition be mild in your debates and support laws that will save lives on the road. Why are you so scared? This me to wonder. Viva parliament for supporting this law.

  23. Praise God. Finally, someone has seen sense. I personally wrote to authorities on this matter to the MMD Minister responsible for RTSA and also approached Mr Mwalusaka, then CEO for RTSA to demand the use of breathalysers so that people who drunk alcohol and drove could be caught and punished according to the law. Thank you PF for that civilised decision to implement what is already in the law. Thank you very much. Kudos for PF on this one.

  24. To reduce on abuse of alcohol,hike the prices to double the current price.Use half the doubled price to fund youth progressive programmes and projects as they are the most effected by this cancer for lack of employment or directed goals.High prices and taxation on alcohol and cigarettes will increase revenue and encourage good health among not only the youths but the general citizenry.

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