As part of the Christmas clampdown on drunken driving, the government has taken its war against alcohol to another level by effectively naming and shaming motorists charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol. The latest campaign which is part of the police’s festive clampdown on motorists who flout the law saw names offenders as from the month of July and November published in the state owned Daily News. The list of offenders entitled “drivers convicted for drunken driving from month of July to November” was sponsored by the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security.
Hundreds of the offenders’ were listed under the months in which they were alleged to have been convicted. Observers say the latest is part of President Ian Khama’s attempt at curbing alcohol abuse. When he assumed office in 2008, Khama’s measures against alcohol included among others the introduction of the infamous alcohol levy and the reduction in liquor trading hours. Ministry’s Principal Public Relations Officer, Samma Tabudi, said the campaign was part of government’s effort to cut the number of people who pose a risk to others by getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.
She insisted that the move was not to name and shame motorists but to curb lawlessness and reduce the number of road and traffic accidents related to drunken driving. “The whole idea is for safety and security reasons. For instance, in some cases, you will find that some people who had been convicted of drunken driving are still driving despite the fact that their licenses had been suspended,” said Tabudi. She added that the latest development will also force motorists not to drink beyond limit. Tabudi explained that the move will send a clear message that lawlessness and social ills brought about by indulging in alcohol are unacceptable in the country.
“The whole idea is not to name and shame people. The whole idea is to ensure that there is safety and security. You have to also take into consideration the fact that majority of the victims are the youth. So it wouldn’t appear okay to see yourself driving while I have seen your name in the Daily news,” she said. Tabudi said on Friday, the day on which the list of offenders appeared in the Daily News, they received a call from one of the parents expressing shock that the name of her son had appeared on the list of the offenders.
“The feedback we have received so far is positive. In other words it shows that the campaign could help reduce the number of road accidents related to alcohol abuse,” she said. Tabudi would not be drawn into disclosing which department under her ministry supplied them with the list save to say they received the list after completion of the prosecution process which includes police and the courts.