The Speaker of the National Assembly, Margaret Nasha, will next week convene a meeting of parliament’s general assembly to specifically discuss the new liquor regulations, which prohibit the sale of Chibuku in households.
The decision came as an intervention to defer for debate an urgent motion by Lobatse legislator, Nehemiah Modubule, calling on the minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcus Makgatho-Malesu, to pity Chibuku traders and suspend the regulations prohibiting sale of Chibuku in dwelling areas.
The interjection to the debate of the motion came from Gaborone South MP Kagiso Molatlhegi who proposed an adjournment of the debate to allow legislators to engage over it at the general assembly.
Speaking in support of the motion, Molatlhegi said that it would be a great disservice to the motion if it were to be discussed for a few hours in parliament.
According to Modubule, by bring to an end the sale of Chibuku in homes, government had thrown many families into poverty.
“Many families are crying because there have been surviving on sale of Chibuku…government has thrown them into destitution because they can no longer afford to pay for electricity, water, buy food and feed their children,”
Modubule said, adding that government was quick to enforce the regulations despite the absence of a clearly thought out plan on how and where the traders would carry out their business.
“We are driving them into destitution…let’s allow the sale and restrict it to time instead of barring it completely,” said Modubule as he presented his motion before parliament.
Many of the MPs who stood up to contribute on the motion supported the proposal that the regulations be suspended until a comprehensive plan is made to assist the traders in relocating their businesses.
“No person can afford to build a depot and build toilets,” said Selebi Phikwe West MP’s Gilson Saleshando. Saleshando said that the law should be scrapped because it would drive many people previously dependent on sale of Chibuku at homes into poverty.
Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi warned that the list of people enrolled on the government’s destitute programme would baloon if the abolished sale of Chibuku at homes continues. Like
Modubule, he suggested a regulation of the trading hours and banning of loud music.
Another MP, Prince Maele said that it was important to look at the findings of the Puso commission on what social ills alcohol sale at homes begets. He said the sale was a social misfortune because it had been found by the commission that the sale of alcohol in homes results in rape, assaults and countless murder incidents.
However, Gaborone North MP, Keletso Rakhudu, is of the view that the law is reasonable as it would ensure that children growing up in homes where there is such a trade are not disturbed in their studies.
“The problem is not the law but adjusting certain things,” he said.
Rakhudu added that government intervention could be in assisting the traders to group themselves together and build structures similar to beer gardens.