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A member of parliament from opposition side, Hon. Namboze Bakireke has had her controversial bill on regulating hours of alcohol sale and consumption received a full backing of the government.On labour day, President Museven said his government shall support this law. This Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2016, seeks to, among other things, restrict bar opening hours, prescribes stringent penalties for selling before or beyond the set time and to under age drinkers.

With the support of the president who doubles as a chairman of ruling party that commands the majority numbers in the legislature, this bill is projected to become a law anytime soon. Once passed, bars shall be required to operate for a specific number of hours as if alcohol is exclusively sold in bars. As its a fact that what is true of individuals is also true of a society, alcohol sellers have been for long been adjusting according to the habits and desires of alcohol consumers. This why in our community alcohol is sold every where like any other consumable.

 So, should I assume that the proposer is not aware of this situation as its likely to make the law difficult to implement? Or we are going to have alcohol sale limited to bars only for the first time in Uganda! That said however, my biggest concern which I think Hon Betty Namboze would have thought about more critically before anything else is whether her proposed law is the right solution to solve youth redundancy and alcohol abuse that is visibly rampant in both rural and urban centres which government is using as a cause of high crime rates and low economic output. All legislators who share her opinion must be reminded of their additional allocation of sh 300b in the next year budget compared to only sh150b meant for Agriculture sector that would absorb many more of redundant youth targeted here.

 On contrary, this law will end up treating only symptoms reflected in actions and ways of the idle and unemployed youth while the cause of the real problem which legislators remain skeptical about will remain at large. Because if her problem is bars or betting houses staying open 24/7, why cant she and fellow legislators ask themselves where do productively engaged citizens get time to spend in bars especially during day time? As its common sense that work and drinking in bars cannot happen simultaneously, let her find out who then are these loyal customers who don't work but ever in bars 24/7 - moreover with cash to spend? If they are adults and loaded, why then bother to infringe on their rights with a law?

 In addition, given that alcohol is sold in every corner of our community and betting is online business, how is this law going to restrict these activities? Surely, will this law bar the category of the said people from drinking any time they want or its targeting the unproductive poor NRM generational youth who swarm bars and betting houses because of lack of meaningful jobs in the country to engage them? So, if its targeting the latter, what will they engage in after the law? Will it (law) come with jobs to occupy their minds or it will be used in arresting and imprisoning them?

Therefore, the legislators and executives in charge of policy formulation who disguise not to be aware of the cause of the problems affecting our communities ought to know that citizens deserve better than what they getting. The message is clear, stop dealing with signs and symptoms of a deep rooted problem of unemployment that emanates from lack of well designed economic structural policies to create significant investment in areas of Agriculture and IT where majority of the victims(youth) would be absorbed, and deal with reality as it is.

However, I strongly believe these parliamentarians know the real problem affecting our society but only engage in designing such unrealistic and wrong policies because they want to be seen doing their roles in the house. Actually they ought to know that youth and others being targeted by this law are merely the victims a dysfunctional legislative assembly. For example, why has this parliament and the previous ones fail to legislate against the production of cheap and dangerous Waragi, packaged in sachets which are widely consumed by anybody at anytime of the day?
The NRM legislators are understood when they appear naive but opposition members are expected to act rationally. Given the slow or non implementation of some of the previous passed laws due to lack of government's will and commitment, alcohol drinkers don't need to lose sleep over this one as it will overporate into thin air.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that  we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic  and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
---Theodore Roosevelt

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