Phillip Chimponda, the president of the Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) Zambia Chapter, has urged the government to take a more comprehensive approach to enforcing the 2018 National Alcohol Policy. The policy aims to regulate the manufacturing, distribution, selling, and consumption of alcohol in the country.
Mr. Chimponda emphasized the importance of close collaboration between the government, civil society, and the Church to ensure effective enforcement of the National Alcohol Policy. He specifically highlighted the role of local councils in advocating against alcohol abuse and underage drinking while enforcing the policy.
SAAPA has proposed the introduction of a Fast-track court system to prosecute individuals who disregard laws pertaining to alcohol manufacturing, distribution, selling, and consumption. Mr. Chimponda emphasized that illegal activities in these areas contribute to crime, road accidents, and health complications.
During a stakeholders’ meeting held at Fatmos Lodge in Ndola, Mr. Chimponda presented a report titled “Implementation Report 2019-2023,” highlighting the efforts of SAAPA and other stakeholders in enforcing the policy.
Following the adoption and approval of the National Alcohol Policy in 2018, it became evident that the government lacked a mechanism and strategic roadmap for effective implementation at national, regional, and community levels. In response, SAAPA and other civil society organizations engaged with the government and key stakeholders to develop a sustainable strategy and mechanism for implementation.
By the end of 2022, the National Alcohol Policy Multisectoral Coordinating Committee (NAPMCC) was established with representatives from 22 government line ministries, quasi-government institutions, academia, and five civil society organizations. The NAPMCC was reformed, and a core group, known as the Alcohol Technical Working Group, was established to spearhead implementation efforts.
The report includes resolutions and recommendations made during meetings with the government, such as enforcement measures to curb illegal alcohol sales, the introduction of a toll-free line for reporting illegal alcohol-related activities, establishment of fast-track courts, prioritization of manufacturer and trader responsibility, inclusion of landlord responsibility in the Tenancy Act, and increased public health sensitization.
Mr. Chimponda also urged local authorities to enforce the directive from the Minister of Local Government, Garry Nkombo, which prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol in markets and bus stations. He further encouraged local authorities to introduce a national toll-free line in collaboration with the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) to enable citizens to report illegal alcohol vending, thus facilitating prompt action and protecting whistleblowers from community harassment.