HomeCommunity NewsShebeens, a health time bomb in Harare

Shebeens, a health time bomb in Harare

SHEBEENS are increasing in numbers in most of Harare’s high-density suburbs.

By Tawanda Marwizi

The development, most pronounced in Mbare, Chitungwiza, Epworth, Norton and other populous suburbs, has become a cause for concern for families living near the illegal drinking spots.

Residents who spoke to the Standardcommunity had no kind words to shebeen operators, saying they were exposing their children to improper behaviour.

“It is very shameful to watch visibly drunk men passing out urine a few steps away from my gate, not to mention exposing their manhood to innocent children playing in the streets,” said the disgusted Agnes Chiropa, a resident who lives at a nearby shebeen in Chitungwiza.

“What picture could they be drawing for the children?”

A survey conducted by this paper revealed that a growing number of drinkers preferred shebeens than drinking at legal beerhalls, mainly due to their  proximity.

But due to the absence of ablution facilities at most shebeens, most of the drunkards who spend their quality time drinking opaque beer relieved themselves in nearby drenches. Others did so in the open.

A Harare City health official who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the problem was rising and urged police to launch an operation to root them out.

“We all know that the water problem has become a national disaster and it will be unhealthy for shebeens to operate in the suburbs without running water and proper toilet facilities. Police should just do their job,” said the official.

However, efforts by the police to discourage the operation of shebeens are hitting a brick wall, amid reports shebeen queens paid bribes to senior police officers.

Zephaniah Mandirahwe, who is the Chitungwiza City Council spokesperson, said they were working towards closing all shebeens.

“They have to be destroyed. they are becoming a health menace,” said Mandirahwe.

The most popular shebeens in Chitungwiza include KwaBla Midza in St Mary’s, KwaMai Mishy and Musuva-Musuva in Unit D.

Some people in the country are pushing the government to legalise shebeens, arguing that they immensely contributed to the independence of the country, as they were used by nationalists as rendezvous during the liberation struggle.

The South African government has already legalised shebeens, which are among the popular drinking places, especially in the high-density suburbs.

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