The villagers were merry-makers at a religious ceremony. This is, indeed, a sorry spectacle. Most of the victims experienced acute diarrhoea and vomiting. Although no death occurred, it is imperative to take pity on the victims, most of whom had to spend a night or two in hospital beds.
A few virtually came on the verge of surefooted death. The incident calls to mind a similar occurrence in Dar es Salaam last year which saw seven ‘gongo’ drinkers winding up in graves after consuming what they assumed to be healthy.
The fraternity of drinkers ended up experiencing excruciating pangs of stomachache. Most of them vomited intolerably.
The seven who died were among a large group of drinkers of a crude, illicit and highly poisonous gin commonly known as ‘gongo.’ Amana Hospital medics failed to save their lives. Several others survived to tell the story.
They said that it was customary for them to visit a hovel at Kigogo Mbuyuni where the ‘best gongo’ was brewed and was available in plentiful supply daily. It was also cheap. Unfortunately, it was this cheap drink that killed some of the regular patrons including the brewer.
‘Gongo’ is an addictive liquour that is difficult to abandon. The consumers of ‘togwa’ in the Songea village survived death but they must have learned a harsh lesson. It is irrational to drink or eat anything crude without considering the health threat it might pose. Most local brews, including ‘togwa’ and ‘gongo’ are prepared in completely unhygienic conditions.
Those who consume them do so at their own peril. It would be remiss on our part not to mention here that ‘togwa’ and ‘gongo’ are not the only illegal substances that pack a killer punch. Narcotic drugs are notorious killers that are making inroads in the local social fabric.
Psychiatrists have determined that, indeed, the world of narcotic drugs is a completely rabid world. It is a world of hallucination, loss of memory and violence! It is a world of lunatics, violent gangsters, scarlet prostitutes and devil-may-care outlaws.
Those in the lay world hardly know that all narcotic drugs, including bhang are very dangerous. Yet more and more Tanzanian youth pick up the habit.
Some become critical psychotic cases after a few years, often with irreversible conditions. In far too many cases drug abusers will literally do anything to obtain enough drugs to satisfy a habit, no wonder most bandits abuse narcotic drugs. Drinkers of ‘gongo’ are, in some cases, equally bad. Indeed, the Police Force must help to stem the rot.