Ban on ‘Viroba’ must be sustained for us all


THERE’S no mistaking that the government ban on sachet-packed liquors known as “Viroba’ is all for the public good. So it must be sustained and stay on course because so much is at stake.

You cannot expect to run an economy, soon to run the course of industrialisation, on a nation we cannot wean from bad habits, such as the suckling of alcoholic hard rum from sachets.

There are certainly better ways of conserving the drinks, alcoholic or not, than stashing them in sachets. Do we even know the “shelf lives of these ubiquitous containers?”

Addressing journalists, the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office, Union Affairs and Environment, Mr January Makamba, now rightly says that anyone found consuming or in possession of the sachets will be fined up to 50,000/- or go to jail for three years.

Likewise, importation of the hard liquor in plastic sachets will amount to no less than two years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding five million shillings. And those found producing it will either go to jail for two years or pay fines of 2m/-; as for those caught distributing, storing and selling, the penalties will attract jail terms of two months or fines amounting to 100,000/-.

These penalties do not add up to big sums, but the impact of consuming hard liquors cannot be underrated. We’ve had cases in this country of highly productive individuals going to total waste on account of unmitigated consumption of hard liquors.

So the current war on ‘Viroba” is at once economic, with heavy social undertones resulting from consuming alcohol from shoddy containers or environments.

To drink or not to drink may be very personal and Tanzanians as individuals have a right to choose what to drink. But we’ll beg to differ on one aspect: Of people drinking at their own peril.

That’s the way we look at it – measures being taken against unmitigated sale of “Viroba’ are being taken for the good of all.

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