The Inspector General of Police of police (IGP) Dan Munyuza has called for concerted efforts to fight against consumption and production of illicit brews if the campaign of the elimination of the dangerous alcoholic drinks is to become a success.
IGP Munyuza also urged law makers to establish deterrent laws especially for repeat offenders and manufacturers who are aware of the required production standards but turn a blind eye and abuse the processes.
IGP Munyuza made the remarks on January 16, while meeting Members of the senatorial Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security at Rwanda National Police headquarters in Kacyiru.
The five-member delegation was headed by Senator Mike Rugema who also chairs the Committee.
IGP Munyuza told the lawmakers that RNP as a lead law enforcement agency conducts operations to eliminate illicit brews by mainly disposing of seized drinks, arrest offenders and conduct public awareness campaigns to educate masses about the health dangers of unlicensed alcohols.
He noted however, that a lot more needs to be done through joint intensive campaigns since some people had “very low understanding of the dangers of drinking alcohols concocted with hazardous ingredients”
He said records show some crimes such as violence, rape and theft are associated with people who drink excessively on illicit brews and drugs.
Records show there were 218 local brewing factories countrywide which produce about 152 different brands.
In 2018 about 150 were closed for flouting Rwanda standards production requirements while 13 were fined.
RSB specifies that “only food grade processing aids recognized as safe for human consumption shall be used during the manufacture.”
Other standard requirements include labeling (name of the products, physical and postal address of manufacturer); net contents in milliliters or liters; ethyl alcohol content; date of manufacture and expiry date; storage instruction; statutory warnings; and list of ingredients in descending order.
The Inspector General of Police also noted that although police have enlisted the collaboration of local leaders and youths through community policing activities, there still exists challenges on the increasing market demand for the drinks including those that are produced outside Rwanda borders.
“Some of the drinks outlawed in Rwanda are legitimate in some of our neighbors this creates an enduring challenge also caused by porous borders which also create a spillover of such drinks into Rwanda” explained IGP Munyuza.
He said some elected local leaders, were said to be complaisant because they know where and who is behind these brews since the illegal breweries are close to communities.
“Most of the seized drinks were found to have been produced in very unhygienic conditions, poorly stored, packaged and transported” he said.
Senator Mike Rugema reiterated that the house will continue to advocate and joint efforts to eradicate dangerous brews in the community.
He expressed commitment to supporting police and other stakeholders to achieve the goal of protecting the lives of unwitting citizens.
The senators are on a working tour to make assessment on efforts to crackdown on illicit production of alcohol.