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Zambia: On the Ban of Popular Cheap Spirit ‘Sachets’

Two years ago, a blogger called for the banning of the sale of very potent alcoholic spirits packaged in 60 ml sachets which have come to be known as “tujilijili”. Whether government officials saw the blogger’s appeal or not, at least the Minister of Local Government and Housing, Professor Nkandu Luo on March 15, 2012, did just that.

These spirits are mostly sold by street vendors in informal outlets known as “tuntemba” but are consumed by both the poor and well-to-do. The satchets can easily be concealed in in palms and sipped surreptitiously.

Tujilijili on sale on a kantemba. Picture courtesy of nKani.com.

Tujilijili on sale on a kantemba. Picture courtesy of nKani.com.

Blogger Henry Nasilele wrote at the time:

In our towns and cities the availability of alcohol for sale is common. Anyone can walk into many bottle stores and bars to buy beer or spirits without questions asked.

The latest problem has been the availability of spirits that are sold in 60ml plastic satchets commonly known as to “Tujili jili”. These are even sold on the streets and the youths are the major consumers of this type of alcohol.

This 60ml empty satchet of brandy, found thrown after consumption, is a common sight on roadsides and footpaths.

Through their packaging, “Tujilijili” have not only been an environmental hazard through littering with the empty packets but also a cause of deaths of consumers through alcoholic poisoning or through accidents caused by drunkenness.

Writing on his Facebook page after the ban, Nasilele said:

Nearly two years after I wrote on the notorious “Tujilijili” our Lord has answered our prayers for the killer drink to be banned by the Govt.
One wonders who was benefiting from this vice ?

Reacting to Nasilele's remark, Lizzie Mubangalala Mumba said:

It was long long overdue!

Winstern Banda agreed:

Indeed the govt should ban this so called tujilijili coz its very cheap n strong.

Reacting to the story on Lusaka Times, Sharon wrote:

Folish thinking, you don’t ban, you regulate and phase out slowly, what happens to all jobs, what happens to all stocks still available? What happens to the machines? Poor planning, if you gave pipo a license, you also need to give them time to re direct their businesses,meanwhile u increase on taxes to ten fold, so that the product become expensive immediately, that’s how we ran a country..

Another contributor, Veteran, brought an unequality element to it:

Absurd!, Zambia can make millions exporting Tujilijili to the world! What is needed is just improved packaging and certification. The same woman baning Tujilijili will be drinking imported spirits and alcohol ! Unbeleivable!

On Twitter, a tweep thought that this was the second time government was banning the sale of tujilijili:

@luchi7: GRZ bans tujilijili…..is it just me or isn't this the 2nd time #Zambia

Another tweep added some humour to the banning of the cheap but popular alcoholic beverage:

@Sali_Fyanji: lmao there there, its gonna be okay RT @mwimbu: Tujilijili banned! Im inconsolabe, cant stop crying #zambia

Currently, there are two anti-tujilijili groups on Facebook: STOP TUJILIJILI DRINKING CAMPAIGN FOR THE GOOD OF TOMORROW LEADERS and youths against tujilijili.

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