Cheap booze claims two in Mutare

MUTARE — Two men died in separate incidents in Manicaland province two weeks ago after drinking too much alcohol including a home-made brew commonly known as kachasu.

REPORT BY OUR CORRESPONDENT

Police confirmed both incidents.

In the first incident, Hardson Marwizi (61) of Mutasa district left his homestead to visit a friend where he spent the whole day drinking kachasu without taking any food.

While still at the friend’s house, Marwizi started complaining of hunger and began breathing heavily.

Sensing danger, his friend ran to Marwizi’s homestead and alerted his wife about his condition.

Marwizi’s wife tried to help him by giving him some porridge.

This however failed to save his life.

In the second case, Brighton Svodza of Chikanga in Mutare died in the comfort of his bed after allegedly drinking 750ml of an illegally imported cane spirit.

The cane spirit, which is smuggled from Mozambique, has a 40% alcohol content.

Manicaland police spokesperson, Inspector Enock Chishiri said Svodza (39) arrived home very drunk carrying a near empty container of the cane spirit.

He was served with supper by his wife, Auxillia (30) but refused to eat.

“At around 2100hrs, the couple retired to bed but Svodza’s wife woke up at around 0215 and discovered that her husband was no longer breathing,” said Chishiri.

Svodza was rushed to Mutare Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police said preliminary investigations suggested that he could have died of alcohol poisoning.

Chishiri appealed to members of the public to desist from alcohol abuse saying it was hazardous to their health.

“We appeal to members of the public not to abuse alcohol because some of the brews are dangerous and are hazardous to health if consumed to excess,” said Chishiri. “Members of the public are warned that it is illegal to brew illicit beers in their backyards.”

Experts said most people were abusing alcohol to relieve themselves of stress brought about by the economic challenges prevailing in the country.

‘illicit brews cheap’

A snap survey by Standardcommunity in Mutare’s high-density suburbs and peri-urban areas established that a lot of people were resorting to illicit brews and banned cane spirits smuggled from neighbouring Mozambique.

The people said they preferred to buy smuggled cane spirits because of their high alcohol content and their cheap price.

“I would need less than US$2 to get drunk whereas I would need about US$15 if I choose to take lagers,” said one man, who only identified himself as Bla Diva.

The potent brews, which are very popular with unemployed youths, are usually sold in shebeens in the town’s high-density areas.

Presently, unemployment tops 85%. Most companies in Mutare are operating at very low capacity while others have since closed shop.

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